BD:Blog:reverse-carefully-prevent-a-car-accident-keep-your-children-safe
BD:Blog
BD:Car
Budget Direct

Reverse Carefully: Prevent A Car Accident & Keep Your Children Safe

Looking for smarter
Car Insurance?

Get a Quote

Reverse Carefully: Prevent A Car Accident & Keep Your Children Safe

We do everything possible to protect our children. We insist they wear helmets when they’re riding their bikes. We keep close tabs on them when they’re playing in the yard and we ensure they have a direct line of contact with us at all times, just in case.

Even with such carefulness, emergencies happen. And it turns out, a surprisingly high percentage of low-speed car accidents (more than half) involve children being hit by reversing vehicles. Tragic car accidents like this are largely preventable.

Here are some tips to help your children stay safe, (in addition to all the things you already do to watch out for your littlest family members).

Always Be Aware of Your Child’s Location

Checking on your children should be the last thing you do before you get into the car.

If you’re heading out of the house and will be reversing out of your driveway, never assume that your partner or another adult is looking after the children. Be 100 per cent certain that you know exactly where your children are and who is looking after them before you even put the car into reverse gear.

Checking on your children should be the last thing you do before you get into the car. If you are the sole supervisor of your children and are simply moving the car out of your driveway to a nearby parking spot, take the children in the car with you.

Updated Reverse Image

 

Toddlers are the peak age group for injury related to reversing vehicles. They’re curious; they’re active; they’re hard to keep constant tabs on. Toddlers should never be allowed to play in locations that cars could be reversing into or out of.

Also, having a high number of young children around increases the risk of an accident. Adequate supervision is the most vital step in preventing accidents like these.

Educate Your Children About The Dangers Of Reversing Cars

It’s never too early to start informing your children about the risks and dangers of playing around cars, driveways or in parking lots.

When you’re putting your children in the car, remind them that reversing cars are extremely dangerous.

Chief executive of Constable Care Child Safety Foundation, David Gribble, believes early education is key and is working on a centre to teach kids to how to keep themselves safe around cars. “We need to address this issue urgently and we hope the development of this early-intervention centre will enable children to be more aware of their surroundings and the other road users and to allow them to develop safer travel behaviours,” he says.

When you’re putting your children in the car, remind them that reversing cars are extremely dangerous.

When you’re actually reversing, reinforce the reasons why they need to stay away from moving cars.

When walking through a parking lot, make it a team effort to look for cars that might be reversing. Remember, since children are much smaller in stature, a car might see you, but not them.

ReversingCarSafety (5)

Caravan parks, camp grounds, footpaths and parking lots are all places be ultra careful.

Also, keep in mind the lessons you’re teaching your kids about the road while you’re driving with them. Columnist for The Age, Derek Rielly, cites road rage in front of your children as one of the biggest no-nos: “Kids who see this [road rage] again and again become attuned to the idea every single person except for their parent is a menace on the road…”

Be Aware Of What Your Children Are Doing Inside The Car

While accidents often happen to children in driveways, incidents can also happen when children fall from moving vehicles or accidentally shift the vehicle out of gear. Never leave children unattended in your vehicle. Make sure they are always properly positioned with their seatbelts or carseats fastened.

Never leave children unattended in your vehicle. Make sure they are always properly positioned with their seatbelts or carseats fastened.

Be aware of your state’s legal requirements regarding infant and toddler carseats and verify that your seats are properly fitted at an authorised restraint fitting station.

You can search for a fitting station on government websites like Transport for NSW’s Centre for Road Safety. If you have child locks on the doors in your backseat, use them until your children are old enough to understand the dangers of playing with the car door latch.

Don’t Let Your Children Play In The Driveway

Accidents in reversing cars most commonly occur in residential driveways, including the child’s own home, as well as in shared driveways and those of friends and neighbours.

Discourage your children from using your driveway and garage as play areas. They should never be playing in driveways or parking lots, playing under or behind parked cars, or playing within a vehicle.

reverse2

Children love to play football and ride bikes and scooters in the streets, but regardless of whether you live on a busy street or quiet, suburban cul-de-sac, never let your children play alone in the street without proper adult supervision.

A safety gate which prohibits your children from accessing your driveway or the outside garage is a useful addition to your home.

Make a rule that young children should only be in the driveway or garage if they are holding an adult’s hand. Play in the backyard instead, or go to a local, grassy park or the beach.

A safety gate which prohibits your children from accessing your driveway or the outside garage is a useful addition to your home. This can provide another layer of safety as well as peace of mind. Don’t over-depend on the gate, but the extra effort can certainly help.

Visually Check Around The Vehicle Before Moving

All cars have a blind zone. Understand your vehicle’s unique limitations and “blind zone” and check your car thoroughly before putting your car in reverse.

Be particularly aware of additional blind spots that may arise if you have recently installed sun shades on the back windows, or if there are extra items in your boot that could be obstructing your view.

reverse3

Always check for children who may be playing on the street nearby or walking past your car if you’re in a commercial car park.

These days, many cars are fitted with proximity sensors and video cameras to assist with parking. However, proximity sensors alone won’t always warn you if young children are in your vehicle’s path. Sensors aren’t necessarily powerful enough to detect whether a very small child — a toddler or crawling baby, in particular — is present.

Create a checklist with things like the following and make it routine to go through before you reverse.

Similarly, while video cameras can be helpful, they have blind spots near the back wheels too.

Create a checklist with things like the following and make it routine to go through before you reverse.

1.  Ensure you can see your children, or that they’re with another carer.
2.  Check your mirrors — both side mirrors and rear-view mirror.
3.  Turn and look over your shoulder on both sides, to ensure there is nothing in the areas your mirror doesn’t reach.
4.  If you have any technology that indicates what’s behind you, use it. But don’t depend solely on it.
5.  Again, double check you can see your children.
6.  Then put your car into reverse.

ReversingCarSafety (1)

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport has released a brochure on keeping kids safe in the driveway: Driveway Safety – Are your kids at risk?” You can download here.

Sadly, the majority of incidents arising from reversing car accidents occur when a parent or close relative is behind the wheel. A slow-moving vehicle can be a fatal hazard for children.

And while technology has advanced and can be helpful in detecting nearby objects, it’s important to take care behind the wheel and know that the best strategy for prevention is adult supervision and due diligence before reversing.

Keep your child safe while in the car also. See our great infographic here ‘Child Safety In The Car‘.