GREENWOOD, Ind. -- The death of a 1-year old Greenwood toddler last week shows the problem of backover crashes persists despite advances in technology, according to the KidsAndCars.org, a national organization that tracks children safety in and around vehicles.
Since 2001, 27 children have died in Indiana after being backed over, according to KidsAndCars.org.
“Many people find it impossible to believe but literally every week in the United States at least 50 children are backed over by a vehicle,” said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org. “What it says to me is that we’re driving vehicles that are impossible to see behind and when we give numbers regarding how big the blind zones are, that’s when your rear view mirror is set perfectly and your side mirrors.”
The most common age of backover victims is 1-year-old, according to the group, although children younger than 5-years-old are considered most at risk.
The average blind zone for a vehicle is 15 to 25 feet, and shorter drivers have even larger blind zones.
KidsAndCars.org successfully secured a federal law that requires all new vehicles be installed with backup cameras by 2018.
“We’re probably right now at the 60% range of vehicles coming with a rear view camera,” said Fennell. “It is a huge problem, and based on the turnover in our vehicle fleet it looks like every vehicle won’t have a rear view camera until 2045.”
Fennell said many people don’t’ realize they can install backup cameras on their vehicle.
“You can go to a stereo store, the dealer, and in some cases, it’s something you can install on your own,” said Fennell.
TIPS TO PREVENT BACKOVERS
- Always walk around and behind a vehicle before moving it
- Know where your children are. Make sure they move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car
- Install a rearview camera, backup sensors and/or additional mirrors on your vehicles
- Make sure children hold hands with an adult in parking lots at ALL times. If you have multiple children and not enough hands, create a hand-holding train or fasten the younger children into a stroller and make sure everyone stays together
- Teach children that “parked” vehicles might move and make sure they understand that the driver might not be able to see them, even if they can see the driver
- Teach your children never to play in, around or behind a vehicle. The driveway is not a safe place to play
- If you have an adult passenger with you, ask them to stand outside the vehicle and watch for children or animals as you back out. Ensure they are a safe distance away from the vehicle so that they are not in any danger
- Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans, and trucks can add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle
- Keep toys, bikes and other sports equipment out of the driveway
- Trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure drivers 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
- Install extra locks on doors inside the home high enough so children cannot reach them and toddlers cannot slip outside on their own
- Roll down the driver’s side window when backing so you can hear if someone is warning you to stop
- Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods