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Driveway Accidents: Keeping Children Safe

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The numbers are astonishing: 50 children are injured on a weekly basis in this country after being hit by, or even run over, by a vehicle backing out of a driveway. Two of these incidents result in a child’s death every single week somewhere in the United States. In point of fact, these backover accidents account for 42 percent of all child fatalities in non-traffic situations. The majority of children involved in these accidents are just one year old. Driving forward over youngsters in the driveway injures almost half as many children as backing up.

How the Unthinkable Happens

 These unfortunate accidents most often –70 percent of the time, in fact–involve a family member behind the wheel. Generally, unsupervised children wander into the pathway of a vehicle, unbeknownst to the driver. Sometimes children simply slip from view momentarily, hoping to give a parting message or hug to the driver. Other times, young minds are so engrossed with play that they are completely oblivious to the dangers of a moving vehicle in the driveway.

Avoiding Driveway Tragedies

How can drivers avoid disaster when it comes to little ones in the driveway? Experts recommend a number of strategies to ensure children are kept safe:

  • Be cognizant of the fact that kids are everywhere. They may be part of your own family, or neighborhood children who just happen to turn their tricycles around in your driveway. Conduct a quick, but thorough walk around the vehicle before starting the engine. Besides checking the area immediately surrounding the car, examine the general vicinity. A bouncing ball or bicycle could put a child precariously close in the snap of a finger. If children are present in the area, keep an eye on them while backing out. If one disappears from sight, stop and determine whether or not they are in danger of being hit.
  • Know where your blind spots are, and don’t simply trust that the way is clear without actively searching the area. In particular, vehicles that are high off the ground could be treacherous for young children;
  • Take your time. Wherever you are, regardless of the time crunch you may be experiencing, take a few seconds to make sure your commute starts out safely;
  • Teach children to keep their toys and bicycles free of the driveway, and to be aware of hazards in driveways and on sidewalks flanking driveways. They need to know that they should never approach a moving vehicle;
  • Physically hold toddlers and younger children when vehicles are in motion in the driveway. Accidents occur in just seconds.

Following an Accident

Driveway accidents can be devastating, and change parents’ and/or children’s lives forever. At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we hope you never have to suffer the pain of this type of experience. If you do, and if legal help is needed, know that you can count on the empathy of our caring, but knowledgeable legal team. Call us in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a consultation today.

Resources:

keepyourchildsafe.org/child-safety-book/child-driveway-accidents.html

kidsandcars.org/how-kids-get-hurt/backovers/