Over 100 kids are killed in backover accidents a year.
Yesterday, the 5-year-old daughter of gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman was killed in a backover accident in her driveway. Apparently, one of Steven's teenage sons backed up in his SUV and did not see little Maria there behind him. What a horrific tragedy.
According to the safety advocacy group Kids and Cars, over 2400 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year due a child being struck by or rolled over by a vehicle moving in reverse; at least two are fatally injured each and every week. (This is often known as the "bye bye syndrome" -- because kids saying "goodbye" to a relative as they leave are often run over.) Over 60% of backover incidents involve a larger size vehicle, such as a truck, van or SUV, like the one Chapman's son was driving.
Kids and Cars' recommendations to keep children safe include:
• Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.
• Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.
• Teach children that "parked" vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.
• Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.
• Measure the size of your blind spot behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.
• Be aware that steep inclines and large SUVs, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
• Hold children's hand when leaving the vehicle.
• Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle, and always set the emergency brake.
• Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.
• Trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.
• Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
• Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
• Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
• Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.
• Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
Our thoughts go out to the Chapman family in this difficult time.