Child safety around cars

It is true that reducing your speed and keeping within the speed limit while you drive can save lives. However when it comes to saving the lives of children on the roads it is not just speeding down the streets that can put children at risk.

Whether or not you are taking driving lessons in Brighton because you want the convenience of being able to drive your children to school or nursery it is worth learning when you might need to be extra vigilant for small children around cars.

When The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) was approached by the family of a toddler who had been killed after being struck by a car in a driveway it was prompted to look at the safety of children in and around cars. “Between the ages of one and two years, infants mobility increases at a terrific, but irregular rate, so they can easily escape a parent‟s supervision for a short time and get into difficulties before the parent realises they have moved. It is not until the age of four or five that children begin to understand the concept of danger, and begin to heed warnings given to them.”

The RoSPA found that, as expected, most accidents involving both children and cars happen when a child is travelling in a car that is in a collision or hit by a car as a pedestrian or cyclist. It also found many cases where children have been injured or killed in or around a car but not due to a road accident. The RoSPA found incidents where a vehicle had reversed over a child in a driveway, or injury caused by something inside the vehicle, for instance an electric window.

The statistics of these tragic events are hard to come by because they often go unreported in the Road Accident Recording System. You can find the numbers RoSPA managed to come by here [http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/children_in_and_around_cars_report.pdf]

Using the answers from 285 questionnaires RoSPA sent out to parents and guardians they found that 22% of respondents said they had begin a manoeuvre on the driveway only to notice their child was unexpectedly near the vehicle when they thought they had been elsewhere. 12% said they had seen their child run into the driveway to pick up a toy when a car was manoeuvring out of the driveway. 95% had left their child unattended in the car while they “dashed back in the house” to retrieve something. 6% of the respondents said they could recall a time when their child had ‘accidentally’ released the handbrake when alone in the car.

26% of parents never reverse into their driveway in order to leave facing forward, which would mean they could easily see if a child suddenly dashed into their car’s path. 83% of parents believed it was unlikely or very unlikely that their child would be injured by a vehicle in the driveway, “Only eight parents (3%) out of 282 who responded said that their children had been injured on a home driveway by the family car.”

Even if you consider the risk small, extra vigilance for small children and precautions such as reversing into the driveway in order to leave facing the road can bring peace of mind to parents.

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