Think safety before pulling out of the driveway

“The driveway can be a scary place,” says Jessica Saunders, community relations manager and Safe Kids Greater Dayton coordinator.

With parents and guests coming and going, the driveway is not a safe place for kids to play. Unfortunately, backup crashes involving light vehicles cause an average of 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries a year. Most of the victims are children and the elderly.

Beginning May 1, 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require rearview technology in all new cars and many light trucks. These new rear-visibility standards are part of an effort to reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by backup accidents.

NHTSA said the new rule, required in the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, will save between 13 to 15 lives per year and prevent as many as 1,125 injuries annually. NHTSA estimates that a rearview system will cost between $132 and $142 per vehicle although many vehicles offer a system now as an option.

The act was named for a 2-year-old Long Island, N.Y., boy whose pediatrician father backed over him in their driveway in 2002.

“However, even without this technology — a little precaution can go a long way,” says Saunders.

Safe Kids Worldwide and Dayton Children’s suggest that parents follow the following tips to ensure children in their driveway are safe from backovers or frontovers.

1. Before you drive away, take a few seconds to walk all the way around your parked car to check for children.

2. When checking for kids around your vehicle, see if anything that could attract a child such as a pet, bike or toy, is under or behind your vehicle before getting in and starting the engine.

3. Designate an adult to supervise and find a safe spot for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move and make sure the drivers can see them.

4. Teach your kids to pick up toys, bikes, chalk or any type of equipment around the driveway so that these items don’t entice kids to play.

5. Identify and use safe play areas for children, away from parked or moving vehicles. Teach kids to play in these areas instead of in, around or behind a car.

6. Consider making your driveway a toy-free zone.

7. Don’t allow children to play unattended in parking lots when cars are present.

8. Accompany little kids when they get in and out of a vehicle.

9. Hold their hands while walking near moving vehicles or in driveways and parking lots or on sidewalks.

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