7 ways cars can hurt kids in your own driveway

7 ways cars can hurt kids in your own driveway

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Parents usually worry about keeping kids safe on the road – and since car accidents are a leading cause of death for kids under age 13, they're right to do so.

But cars can be dangerous to your kids even in your own driveway – and even when they're not in motion. But if you know the dangers, you can take steps to prevent them.

1. Frontovers: Frontovers got a tragic public awareness boost in April when pro football star Todd Heap accidentally ran over and killed his 3-year-old daughter when moving his truck in the driveway of his Mesa, Arizona home.

Frontovers occur when a slow-moving driver doesn't see someone in front of the car and runs over them; they usually happen in a driveway or parking lot according to child motor vehicle safety advocacy group Most commonly, kids from 12-23 months are the victims of frontovers – and a parent or close relative is behind the wheel more than 70 percent of the time.

Keeping your kids safe starts with forbidding them to play in driveways, and explaining the dangers to friends and loved ones. Every driver should move forward carefully and slowly in parking lots and driveways, and parents should make sure that their children haven't followed after them when going to the driveway. If you drive a large vehicle like a truck or SUV, you should use particular caution, because the "blind zones" for these types of vehicles can be surprisingly large.

Safe Kids Worldwide and have many more frontover safety tips for parents.

2. Backovers: Backovers are similar to frontovers in many ways – they generally occur in driveways or parking lots, a loved one is most commonly responsible, toddlers are most at risk, and larger vehicles cause the majority of incidents. Most drivers are unaware that there's a large area behind their vehicle that they can't see when behind the wheel, and small children mistakenly believe that if they can see a car, the car can see them. In the United States, 50 children are accidentally backed over every week. collects tragic stories of children who were killed in backovers (as well as other vehicle accidents), and they're devastating to read. Keep your children from becoming a terrible cautionary tale by walking carefully around your vehicle each time to check for children before moving it, using rearview cameras, back-up sensors, and mirrors on your car, holding hands with your children at all times in parking lots, and making sure that your children are secure and supervised before moving your car.

3. Heatstroke: The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that an average of 38 children died from being accidentally left in a hot car each year since 1998. These deaths, which generally involve a caregiver forgetting a sleeping baby in the car, or a child getting into a car and not being able to get out, are completely preventable – if parents are willing to admit that this can happen to them, too, and are willing to take steps to keep their children safe.

Keep your children safe by never leaving them in a vehicle alone – even if you crack the window, the temperature inside the car can reach 110 degrees when outside temperatures are only in the 60s. You should "look before you lock" – always make sure that no one is in the car before you lock it up, and always keep your car locked so that no children can inadvertently get in. Develop a habitual reminder system to jog your memory when your baby is in the car with you – some people put their purse in the backseat, or put a stuffed animal in the front seat whenever a baby is buckled in. Set up a system with your daycare or babysitters so that they call you if your child has unexpectedly not shown up – and be ready to call 911 if you see a child left alone in a car., Safe Kids Worldwide, and NHTSA have more on preventing vehicle-related heatstroke deaths.

4. Trunk entrapment: Kids are very curious, and may find their way into your trunk and not be able to get out. Thanks to efforts by founder Janette Fennell, glow-in-the-dark levers that open trunks from the inside have been standard in the U.S. since 2002 – and even if you have an older car that doesn't have this lever, sells a retrofit trunk release kit for just $6.99.

Keep your kids safe by teaching them not to play in or around cars, locking cars every time they're not in use, keeping your key fobs out of reach of children, and closing up rear-fold seats so kids can't get into the trunk from the back seat. If your child is missing, check your trunk immediately to see if he or she climbed in. You can also teach your child how to get out of a trunk if they should happen to get locked in -- here's how., NHTSA, and Safe Kids Worldwide have more trunk safety tips.

These are the most common non-crash ways kids are injured or killed in vehicles, but there are other risks too. Learn more about the dangers of power windows, vehicles accidentally set in motion, underage drivers, and other automative-related safety risks at and NHTSA's Parents Central.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: The Lost 1984 Video: young Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh (July 2022).


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