It’s hard enough to imagine running over a child, it’s even harder to imagine if the child is your own. Sadly the most heart wrenching fatalities don’t happen on the road, they happen in someones driveway. A result of an accidental backover, and in most cases the person at fault is a caregiver, relative, or even the mother or father of the child. It’s known as “bye-bye syndrome.” Children run outside to wave goodbye to their parents, and their parents mistakenly run over them, as they never saw them coming.
Just this past August, here in GA, an 18 month old little girl was tragically killed when her own mother accidentally ran her over with the families SUV after the toddler followed her out of the house. Sadly these stories are very common. Kids and Cars reports that on average 50 children a week are injured because of backovers and at least two are killed. That’s over 100 preventable backover related deaths a year.
A backover incident typically occurs when a car coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over a child because the driver did not see them. Larger vehicles with larger blind spots are contributing to the problem, but driver height, smaller rear view windows, and other car designs are contributors as well. These accidents are 100% preventable. NHTSA offers suggestions on how to avoid such tragedies.
Video Source: Kidsandcars.org
- Teach children not to play in or around cars
- Supervise children carefully when in and around vehicles
- Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up.
- Be aware of small children-the smaller a child, the more likely it is you will not see them.
- Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in it or if the car is started.
- Have children in the area stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space.
- Make sure to look behind you while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.
- Take extra care if you drive a large vehicle because they are likely to have bigger blind zones. Roll down your windows while backing out of your driveway or parking space so that you’ll be able to hear what is happening outside of your vehicle.
- Teach your children to keep their toys and bikes out of the driveway.
- Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up.
- Many cars are equipped with detection devices like backup cameras or warning sounds, but they cannot take the place of you actively walking around your car to make sure your children are safely out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what’s behind your vehicle.
The Atlanta based CDC sees the problem as ever increasing and says this about backovers; Various prevention strategies, including education, environmental modifications, and changes in vehicle design, might reduce the risk for Motor Vehicle backover injuries among children. Potential automobile modifications include back-up warning alarms when vehicles are placed in reverse or mirrors, sensing devices, or cameras to alert drivers to out-of-sight objects, such as small children.
The technology to alert drivers of potential blind spot hazards already exists. Aftermarket and dealer installed equipment, including cameras and sensors, and can be purchased and fitted for almost any car and some newer model vehicles now include these cameras as
standard equipment. These cameras are inexpensive and easily found for purchase on the internet.
We must continue to do everything we can to eliminate these senseless
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Georgia Department of Community Health Child Occupant Safety Programs
Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety on Backovers Brochure -
Extensive report from NHTSA on Backovers NHTSA REPORT