In and Around Cars
Non-traffic related vehicle incidents are incidents that occur in places other than a public highway, street, or road. These incidents occur in driveways, parking lots, or off-road locations and may involve bicyclists, pedestrians, non-moving vehicles, or vehicles backing up. During July 2000–June, 2001, an estimated 78 fatal injuries occurred among children less than 14 years who were left unattended in or around motor vehicles that were not in traffic.
Danger can come from any direction. Children can be injured or killed in “back-over” or “front-over” incidents. Many of these preventable injuries and deaths occur in driveways or parking lots when drivers do not see children near their vehicles. Tragically, these drivers are often loving family members or friends.
Parents, caregivers, drivers, and children can all do their part to make sure that children do not share the same space as cehicles. A five-second walk around the car before you get in could save a child’s life.
From 2001 to 2003 approximately 7,475 children (2,492 per year) aged 1 to14 years were treated for non-fatal motor vehicle backover injuries in emergency departments.
- Nearly 50 percent of the children injured in backover incidents were 1 to 4 years old; 55 percent were males.
- Most backovers occurred either at home or in driveways or parking lots; 47 percent occurred at home, and 40 percent occurred in driveways or parking lots.
- Walk all the way around your parked vehicle to check for children, pets or toys before getting in the car and starting the engine. Use a Spot the Tot window sticker as a reminder to walk around the vehicle before every trip.
- Make sure young children are always accompanied by an adult when getting in and out of a vehicle.
- Identify and use safe play areas for children away from parked or moving vehicles & designate a safe spot for children to go when nearby vehicles are about to move.
- Firmly hold the hand of each child when walking near moving vehicles and when in driveways, parking lots, or on sidewalks.
In the United States, from 2001-2003 approximately 2,500 children per year ages 1-14 reported to emergency rooms and an average of 229 children per year died after being struck by a vehicle in a driveway or parking area. Close to half of children injured in these incidents were ages 1-4.
Toddlers often assume that adults will always watch out for them, even when they are behind the wheel of a car. This is a dangerous assumption to make, especially when you are dealing with a large vehicle with blond spots and small toddlers who are difficult to see.
For many kids, a car trunk looks like a fun place to play or hide. Tragically, many families have discovered that children can get in but they cannot always get out. Children can access trunks in several ways, even without having the vehicle’s keys. Most cars have a lever or button, located near the driver’s seat, that pops the trunk open, while other cars have fold-down seats or a “pass through” that enables children to climb into the trunk from the back seat.
- Teach children that trunks are only to transport cargo and are not safe places to play.
- Show children how to locate and use the emergency trunk release found in newer vehicles.
- If a child is missing, check vehicle trunks immediately.