One child killed a month in their own driveway

A CHILD a month was killed last year in off-road accidents usually by a reversing car in their own driveway.

But the tragic toll could be much higher, with no nationally collated figures for driveway or other similar non-road vehicle accidents.

What figures are available show that, on average, seven young Australian children are killed each year by rolling or slow-moving vehicles - believed to be second only to backyard pool drownings - with many more injured.

That rate has remained mostly unchanged for six years, despite advances in vehicle­ safety technology.

One child a month was killed in driveways last year. Picture: AAP Image/Marc Robertson
One child a month was killed in driveways last year. Picture: AAP Image/Marc Robertson

It has sparked Emma and Peter Cockburn, whose 18-month-old daughter Georgina was killed in a driveway accident seven years ago, to warn drivers not to put too much reliance on reversing cameras or sensors.

The Cockburns collect accident­ data from news reports, which showed last year 12 children were killed - most of them aged three or younger.

Peter and Emma Cockburn urge drivers not to rely on reverse cameras. Picture: Toby Zerna
Peter and Emma Cockburn urge drivers not to rely on reverse cameras. Picture: Toby Zerna
Their daughter Georgina. Picture: Supplied
Their daughter Georgina. Picture: Supplied

In many cases the driver was their mum or dad and almost all involved a reversing car in a driveway, but in one incident a two-year-old died when the family car rolled forward as his mother helped him go the toilet in a highway rest area.

 

The Daily Telegraph’s campaign asks readers to think and drive carefully. Picture: Supplied
The Daily Telegraph’s campaign asks readers to think and drive carefully. Picture: Supplied

 

So far this year three children aged two to seven have been killed, and two others injured, with three of the incidents in NSW.

Following the Cockburns' tragic loss, The Daily Telegraph launched the Check, See, Turn the Key safety campaign designed to reduce deaths and injuries.

Mrs Cockburn yesterday urged drivers not to place too much reliance on reversing cameras, saying: "It is a great tool to help you see behind your car but it won't stop you from hitting­ something."

She said while consumer demand had driven the uptake of reversing technology, "we need to ensure drivers are educated about how to use (it) correctly … we believe that prevention must be the focus, and awareness and education is key to this".

Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said: "Adults need to talk to children about road safety in ways they will understand … setting rules about playing away from footpaths and driveways can keep them out of harm."



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