In Kansas City 2-year-old Benjamin Thompson died this week when his father’s truck backed over him. It’s a tragedy that is repeated all too often – about 50 times EACH WEEK in the U.S. Benjamin was the 52nd death recorded this year.
These incidents for the most part take place in residential driveways or parking lots:
• The predominant age of victims are one-year-olds. (12-23 months)
• Over 60% of backing up incidents involved a larger size vehicle. (truck, van, SUV)
• Tragically, in over 70% of these incidents, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel.
KidsAndCars.org urges all adults to heighten their awareness before they engage a vehicle into reverse, especially when children are present. Young children are impulsive and unpredictable, with poor judgment and little understanding of danger. In addition, young children do not recognize boundaries such as property lines, sidewalks, driveways or parking spaces.
KidsAndCars.org recommendations to keep children safe include:
• Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.
• Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.
• Teach children that “parked” vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.
• Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.
• Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.
• Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
• Hold children’s hand when leaving the vehicle.
• Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle and always set the emergency brake.
• Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.
• Homeowners should trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.
• Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
• Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway.
• Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
• Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.
• Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
These precautions can save lives. For additional information visit www.KidsAndCars.org