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11 child safety tips to prevent child “backover” car accidents

February 27, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Auto accident lawyer gives 11 safety tips to keep children safe around cars

The winter has been unseasonably warm, which actually brought up a tough, but important conversation that I had with one of my neighbors – how exactly do you keep children safe around cars? And what can you do to prevent children from being hit when a car is backing up?

While it’s wonderful for children to be outside and getting fresh air and exercise, (especially in Michigan in winter!) a lot of drivers forget to look for children and realize children are out there.

A backover accident occurs when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over a child because the driver does not see the child. It is incredibly common, and especially heartbreaking because often, it’s the parent who is the driver and their child who is hit when this happens.

I know this is a very difficult subject to discuss, and very hard for us to think about. But as a father of two, I feel it is better to talk about these kinds of issues BEFORE anything terrible every happens. We should be thinking about this every time we back our cars out of our garages or driveways. Remember, the key with all backover accidents is that they are almost always completely preventable.

According to kidsandcars.org, at least 50 children are being backed over in car accidents EVERY week in the U.S. Forty-eight are treated in hospital emergency rooms and at least two children are fatality injured every week.

Here are a few more alarming statistics about child backover car accidents:

o The predominant age of victims is one year olds between 12 and 23 months.
o Over 60 percent of backing up incidents involved a larger size vehicle, like a truck, van or SUV.
o Tragically, in more than 70 percent of these incidents, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel.

How you can prevent a backover car accident from ever occurring

I hope you will consider the safety tips below. It’s always best to check for all children, as your children’s friends could easily be playing on your property without you knowing it.

1. Teach children never to play in or around cars and trucks.

2. Supervise children carefully when in and around vehicles.

3. Always walk around your vehicle, and check the area around it before reversing. Truck drivers and drivers with CDLs are trained to do this, and this one safety precaution makes truck backover cases 100 percent preventable.

4. Be aware of small children — the smaller a child, the more likely it is you will not see him or her.

5. Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in it or if the car is started or running.

6. Have children stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out.

7. Make sure to look behind you while backing up in case a child unexpectedly dashes behind your vehicle.

8. Take extra care if you drive a large vehicle, like a truck or an SUV, as they have bigger blind zones.

10. Keep toys and bikes out of the driveway and teach your children to do the same.

11. Actively check your mirrors while backing up, as children can move unpredictably.

12. Don’t rely on detection devices like backup cameras or warning sounds. These tools are helpful, but they cannot take the place of you actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way. Plus in wintertime, the sensors can be covered by ice or snow, so they are not always accurate and should never be relied upon to the exclusion of the other safety tips above.

– Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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