Warning for parents

Child safety experts are warning parents to take more care when reversing out of driveways amid an alarming rise in young children being run over.

The number of children treated at Princess Margaret Hospital’s emergency department for run-over injuries has been increasing in the past five years, with 10 in the past year.

There are fears WA is following the other States where injuries have surged because more people live on small blocks with narrow or shared driveways or have doors from the house directly into the garage, allowing children to slip out behind cars in seconds.

Figures from Kidsafe WA show 38 children — almost half of them aged under five — have been treated at PMH’s emergency department for run-over injuries since 2009-10.

The figures do not include near misses, injuries treated at other hospitals or by GPs, and children killed or sent straight to intensive care.

In March, a mother fatally hit her 16-month-old daughter in Bibra Lake and in June a two-year-old girl died after she was struck by her mother’s car in their Marangaroo driveway.

Kidsafe WA chief executive Scott Phillips said driveway accidents often involved toddlers, who were old enough to be mobile but too small to be visible near a car from the driver’s seat.

“Sometimes little ones try to run around the back of the car to get to their door when the car is backing out, so they have to be kept quite separate from the driveway area or behind a locked door, ” he said.

“One of the big problems in the Eastern States, which is seen more and more here, is that in new homes the door opening into the garage comes from inside the house, so children open the door and step out behind the car at the last second. People might have cameras on cars but you don’t want to rely on technology.”

Mr Phillips said there were particular concerns during the summer holidays, when people were rushing and more cars were pulling in and out of homes.

“There may be lots of cars parked in your driveway, or you might park in a foreign driveway and there are kids trying out new bikes and scooters, ” he said.

Mr Phillips advised against parents letting children play in the driveway and said drivers should walk around their vehicle before moving it. Children should wave bye from a safe place.


© The West Australian

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