RoSPA research shows that at least 39 children have been killed on, or near, the driveways of their home since 2001. Twenty eight of these accidents have occurred since 2008.
Tragically, in most of these cases, an adult member of the child's family, a neighbour or a visitor to the house was driving the vehicle.
What can you do to avoid these accidents?
When a car is being reversed off a driveway, the driver has a limited view - small children may not be visible in the mirrors. Where possible, it is better to reverse onto a driveway, and drive off forwards.
If this is not possible, remember to be aware of your surroundings and where children are – wind down your windows and, being mindful of your blind spots, proceed slowly as you reverse.
When parking on a slope, always park in gear and turn the wheel so that if the car moved, it would be stopped by the kerb or something similar.
- Parked facing uphill – use a forward gear and turn the steering wheel away from the kerb
- Parked facing downhill – use a reverse gear and turn the steering wheel towards the kerb
A number of children have also died when left unattended in the vehicle. Never leave the keys in the ignition when you get out of the car, even if you are intending to start the car again very shortly. A child could start the car.
Always lock the steering wheel after removing the ignition key (turn the steering wheel until it locks) as this makes it more difficult for a child to start the car.
RoSPA conducted a survey, in conjunction with the Iain Goodwill Trust in 2010 which found that out of 284 parents who responded, the majority were unaware of the potential for an accident involving their children and a car at home.
One of the main issues identified was that parents and carers do not think an accident will happen to their family, unless they know someone who has already experienced one, meaning they do not take simple precautions.
Of those who took part in the survey:
- 59% could recall a time when their child had followed them out of the house on to the driveway without them realising
- 22% had started to manoeuvre a vehicle on the driveway and realised their child was close to the car when they thought they were elsewhere
- 95% reported temporarily leaving their children unattended in the car on the driveway while they "dashed back into the house" for something
- 42% said their children had picked up the family car keys without being seen to do so.
However, 68% believed it was unlikely that their child would ever be injured by a vehicle entering or leaving their driveway. And 83% believed it was unlikely their child would ever be injured by a vehicle parked on their driveway.