Photo of baby in rear-facing car seat.

Every year in Australia, eight children younger than five are killed after being run over at low speed.

In Queensland, three children are run over at low speed every week, mostly on their home driveway by a car driven by their parent or someone they know. Incidents most commonly involve children under the age of four and boys are more common than girls.

Rear-reversing cameras on vehicles do not mitigate the risks and instead a multi-layered approach is required to reduce injuries.

What are the facts about low-speed runovers in driveways

Children move quickly and, with busy lifestyles, parents are often in a rush. It can happen all too easily that kids are at risk of injury when a vehicle starts moving. To give some perspective, from the driver’s seat of some family cars there is a blind-spot of more than 15 metres. In a space like that you could fit 60 children under 5 and reverse over them because you can’t see them.

Low-speed runover facts:

  • Many children are run over by a reversing vehicle but a child can also be run over as a vehicle is moving forward.
  • Incidents mainly occur on a driveway at the child’s home with a vehicle driven by a parent or someone known to the child.
  • Fatalities occur particularly in the 12-24 month age group and more often boys than girls
  • Risks are increased if the driveway is over 12 metres, run along a property boundary, are curved or shared with a neighbouring property.
  • Peak times for the incidence of low-speed runovers 6-9am and 3-5pm
  • Children under 4 years of age are a high-risk category.
  • Most incidents occur September –December each year.
  • Any vehicle can be involved in a low-speed run over however 4WD and utility vehicles are associated with more fatalities because they are heavier vehicles.

What are common injuries from low-speed runovers in driveways

The most common injuries children receive from being run over at low-speed are cuts, scrapes, burns, bruises, fractured legs, internal injuries and head injuries.

Injuries can be long term; requiring surgery and ongoing treatment. Head injuries include brain damage and fatalities.
Young children (under 5 years of age) are particularly vulnerable to these injuries because their heads are larger relative to the size of their body.

How to make your driveway at home kid safe

As the driver, don’t go if you don’t know where the kids are.
If you are supervising children as a vehicle is being moved, physically hold them close to you and teach them to wave bye-bye from a safe place – never the driveway.

Use fences and self-closing gates to keep garages and driveways separate from play areas. Treat the driveway like a road – never a play area.
Always keep car doors locked.

Prevent toddlers gaining access to garages by installing doors that open inward to the house are self-closing and have high set handles.

Walk around your car and keep children in mind when using your reversing mirrors, sensors or cameras.

Cameras are designed to prevent damage to cars not children – and sometimes a child may not be visible until it’s too late.

Understand how little you can see behind your car – vehicle size is not always a good indicator.