By: BOBOYE OYEYEMI
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] backover incident typically occurs when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over an unattended child because the driver did not see him or her. Young kids are most at risk of being killed in backover crashes because it is hard to spot them when they are close to the vehicle.
• Before backing out of your driveway or parking spot, make sure you have full view of any nearby children.
• 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. Roll down your windows while backing out of your driveway or parking space so that you’ll be able to hear what is happening outside of your vehicle.
• Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicle(s) you drive. Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
• Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle and always set the emergency brake. 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.
• Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.
• Homeowners should 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. Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
• Be especially careful about keeping children safe around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.
Many cars are equipped with detection devices that provide rear-view video or warning sounds, but they cannot completely take the place of actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what is behind your vehicle. Love them…protect them!