This year's National Kidsafe Day has been celebrated around the country, acting as a reminder to parents and carers to take all the necessary precautions with protecting their children and keeping them safe.
The theme of this year’s event is reducing road-related injuries to children in Australia, which coincides with the World Health Organisation's ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’.
Each year in Australia an average of 80 children die and 8,000 are admitted to hospital as a result of transport-related injuries.
Each state and territory has celebrated the event in their own way by conducting free child restraint checking and driveway safety demonstrations.
Victoria has lauched a state-wide campaign targeting the prevention of toddlers dying in driveways.
Currently an average of one child a month across Australia dies after being runover in their own driveway. Children under the age of five are most at risk – but most often children around the age of two years old are affected.
These children are mobile, but are too small to be easily visible from the driver’s position.
Four-wheel drives, utes, trucks and vans are the most common vehicles involved in driveway runovers – these cars have the biggest blind spots, making spotting a child, difficult. In 85% of cases, the driver doesn’t even know that the child is near the vehicle – they’re under the impression the child is being looked after elsewhere.
How you can be Kidsafe
These horrible situations can be avoided by:
- Supervising your children whenever a car is being moved – keep them close or hold their hands.
- Restrain children in the car before you move it.
- Don’t allow children to use the driveway as a play area and try to keep the area out of bounds (gates, childproof locks) wherever possible – treat the driveway like a road.
- Install a reversing camera/sensor to assist detection of children/objects behind the car in your blind spot – however don’t become complacent if you choose to use these devices. Having your child actively supervised by an adult is the best choice.
- Don’t forget children are unpredictable – always know where they are at all times and know who is supposed to be supervising them.
- Teaching your children about safety on and around roads.
- If you’re in the market for a new car, check out NRMA’s Reversing Visibility results.
Kidsafe is a non-government, not-for-profit charitable organisation, dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injuries and reducing the resulting deaths and disabilities associated with injuries in children under the age of 15 years.
Reversing camera/sensor aids
Many new cars come fitted with sensors that detect the presence of objects behind the car when you’re reversing or with rear-facing video cameras. But for less than the cost of a minor accident, you can also fit one of these devices to your existing car. There are two types available:
Ultrasonic sensors When reversing, sensors set in to the rear bumper use ultrasonic wave technology to detect an object behind the vehicle and then alert the driver with a multi-stage beeping sound and/or either a coloured-light display, digital read-out, or synthesised voice to indicate the distance to an object behind the car.
Video camera plus LCD screen Video camera systems may be sold as a complete kit or as individual components and consist of:
- A video camera, which may be mounted inside the car, looking out through the rear window, or outside the car, either fitted above the rear window, or low down, set into the rear bumper.
- An LCD screen may be mounted over the existing rear vision mirror (in which case it also functions as a rear vision mirror), on the dashboard, or set into it. (The screen may also function as a DVD player). Some ultrasonic systems and all video camera systems require the driver to look at a display or screen rather than turn their head to look through the rear window.
Check out our article Car Rear Visibility article for the results to our review of the different types in 2007.
For more information on Transport for Babies and Kids, see Travel.