ivillage

23 Oct 2013  – My husband reversed over our toddler

On April 16th 2011 the unthinkable happened.

My husband came home from work, reversed his tool trailer and ute into our garage, and ran over our youngest daughter Georgina. She was 15-months-old.

Georgina had crawled through the internal access door between the house and garage. My husband could not see her at all behind his vehicle. We lost her there and then.

We had designed and built our home with four children and their safety in mind. We fenced the children’s outdoor play area, we had living and playroom areas well away from the garage…we were in the process of teaching our children about car safety. How could this have happened to us?

In the time that followed, our research about these accidents led us to find they happen all too often, so much so that medical and government agencies gave them a name – LSVR’s – Low Speed Vehicle Runovers.

In Australia over the last decade, an average of seven children die and 60 are seriously injured each year. The majority of these accidents happen to children under five years old.

Why does this most often happen to younger children? Because once they learn to crawl or walk they love to be on the go, but developmentally they are unable to understand, ‘Don’t go near that car, it’s dangerous.’ Even older children who have some understanding can still be in danger. For example,  I was walking through the car park with my six year old a few months ago (holding hands), when her hat blew off. Her immediate reaction was to dive and grab it, with no thought of cars or possible dangers.

driveway

Our Foundation is in its early stages but we are working closely with local and state government agencies to prevent such accidents.  There is much to do in this area through education and awareness that allow parents to make informed decisions about home safety and vehicles. This type of tragedy can be prevented. If we knew then what we know now, our daughter would very likely be with us still.

Some key messages to consider are:

Supervise – this is key:

  • Have a system at home where, when a vehicle is moving on your property who has the kids? Is someone holding them, are they in a safe place?
  • Wave goodbye to people from inside the door, or through the window.
  • Treat the driveway as a small road – roads are not safe places for children to play.
  • If you are the only one at home and you need to move the car, put them in the car with you.
  • Teach your children about car safety.

Separate children from vehicle areas around the home:

  • Separate the house from the garage.
  • Does your house have an attached garage? Is there a door between them for easy access? Our website has options for this and you can access them here.
  • Fence driveways and play areas. Is fencing the driveway a possibility? Can you create a safe fenced-off area in the backyard where children can play, without accessing driveway and garage areas easily?
  • Do you keep the front door locked, so there is no easy access to the front yard/driveway and road way?

See – Be aware of the blind space behind your vehicle:

  • Whenever you go to drive a vehicle, do a ‘Circle of Safety’ check around your vehicle before you get in and start the car.
  • Use a rear vision camera like a mirror, to increase visibility at the rear of a vehicle. Many vehicles have sensors or cameras in them, but retro-fit cameras can be installed.
  • For more information see our website, which includes a link to the NRMA’s Reversibility Index.

Following the accident, we found that it helped to talk to families who had experienced a similar loss. Although we had the support and love of our families to help us, so did talking to people who could relate to what happened. So we now offer support for families who have been affected by Low Speed Vehicle Runover Accidents, whether children have sustained severe injuries and survived, or have passed away.

If you, or someone you know is interested in receiving support, please contact us .

On our ‘Angel Page’ families have shared their ‘angel’s’ story or you can share your story here.

http://www.ivillage.com.au/we-lost-our-toddler-in-a-driveway-accident/