Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Driveway Danger Zone

With Spring just around the corner, kids in Lexington are spending more time outside. You wouldn't allow your child to play in traffic, but allowing them open access to the driveway can be just as dangerous.
Tragically, many driveway accidents involve a child playing behind a vehicle or a pet lying down being run over by a vehicle moving in reverse. Steep inclines and large SUVs and vans add to blind spots, making it difficult for drivers to see small children or animals.

Safety study
In a recent study of driveway accidents in New South Wales, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, Dr. Andrew Holland found that injury totals on driveways not separated by a fence or building from a child’s play area had triple the number of accidents compared to protected driveways.
Dr. Holland studied 42 children (median age 2) admitted to the hospital with a driveway injury. Typically, injury involved a parent reversing a motor vehicle over a toddler or preschooler age in the late afternoon or early evening, with SUV-type vehicles involved in 42 percent of all injuries.
Additionally, Holland studied 14 children who were fatally injured in driveways. As nearly all the fatalities were from head injuries, Holland believes the only effective way of reducing the death toll is through prevention.

Protecting your child
Much as a fence acts as a barrier around a swimming pool, Holland believes it's also the best option for preventing driveway accidents. "The optimal prevention would appear to be a clear separation of the driveway and garage from the children's play area by a physical barrier such as a fence," Holland says.
In addition to erecting a fence, there are other ways to make your driveway safe for family, friends, neighbors and pets:
  • Be sure the driveway is clear by walking around your car before you back up.
  • Keep the driveway clear of toys, bikes and sports equipment.
  • Keep your car locked and place the keys in a safe location inside your home.
  • Warn your children not to play on the driveway.
  • Teach your children to play in a protected area of the yard.

By following these tips and using extra care when operating your vehicle, you can reduce your family's risk of being injured in a driveway-related accident by 50 percent.

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