One of my deepest fears as a parent is my child being hit by a car. Every time I read one of those tragic stories – a parent reversing over their own child in the driveway, a child dashing across the road and being knocked down – I feel a jolt.
I’m not alone. Research by Holden and the Mamamia Women’s Network shows that mothers are constantly worried about their children’s safety around cars – on roads, in driveways and in car parks.
Fortunately, there are some simple things we can do to help keep our kids safe.
Never back out of your driveway unless your children are being supervised.
The Holden and MWN research shows 88 per cent of mothers are worried about vehicles exiting driveways – and for good reason.
Every year, on average, seven Australian children are killed and 60 seriously injured because of vehicle accidents in their own yard. Nearly all of the children killed are under the age of five, and tragically it’s almost always a parent or another relative behind the wheel.
An adult should always supervise children when a car is being moved. Their hands should be held if they’re outside. If you’re the only adult at home, your children should be clipped into their car seats.
Kids should be discouraged from playing in the driveway. Some parents find ways to block their children from accessing the driveway or garage. Others make a habit of always saying their goodbyes in the house, not the yard.
When looking for a new vehicle, prioritise safety features like rear view cameras so you can see exactly what’s behind your vehicle at all times.
"Prioritise safety features like rear view cameras." Image via iStock.
Remain hyper-vigilant when your kids are outside of the car.
Getting your kids in and out of the car is a danger time when distractions can occur and accidents can happen.
On a road, children should always be taught to get out on the kerb side, away from traffic.
The Holden and MWN research shows that car parks are a particular concern for parents. A huge 93 per cent of mums with two children have “real issues” with keeping their kids safe while loading and unloading their car.
One suggestion is for all cars to have a “kids’ safety spot”, where kids can wait for their parents while the car is being loaded and unloaded. Seventy-eight per cent of mums surveyed agree that all cars should have one, while 72 per cent would be likely to add or install a safety item like this on their car.
Although constant supervision is always needed, this is a visual reminder for kids to stay next to the car.
Don’t leave your child alone in the car, even for a few minutes.
The dangers of leaving children unattended in cars have been drummed into parents. Yet every year, more than 5000 Australian kids are left in cars, and some die from the heat.
There are a few things worth remembering:
- The temperature inside a car can be 30 degrees hotter than outside.
- Winding the window down a little won’t do much to reduce the temperature.
- The younger the child, the more quickly they will suffer dehydration and heatstroke.
Some parents have come up with methods to stop themselves from accidentally leaving their child in the car. These include putting their purse in the backseat next to their child, putting their child’s nappy bag or toy in the front seat, and asking the childcare centre to call if they don’t drop their child off.
"Every year, more than 5000 Australian kids are left in cars, and some die from the heat." Image via iStock.
Make road safety a talking point.
According to the Holden and MWN research, 90 per cent of mums say they’re concerned about crossing the road with kids.
It’s important to set a good example and talk to kids about road safety from a young age. Before crossing a road, tell your child that you’re stopping, looking, listening and thinking. If there’s a pedestrian crossing or lights nearby, be prepared to walk a little out of your way to use them. Hold your child’s hand when crossing the road or whenever there’s traffic around.
Experts say kids need to be supervised around roads until at least the age of 10.
Constantly check that your child is safely restrained.
If a restraint isn’t correctly installed, or a child isn’t correctly restrained, the risk of injury in an accident is up to six times higher. So remember these things:
- Babies should remain in a rear-facing restraint until they’re too tall for it. Rear facing offers better support for a baby’s head and neck.
- As your child grows, you will need to adjust the height of the restraint’s shoulder straps. If in doubt, go to an authorised restraint fitting station.
- Check every trip that the harness fits closely and the straps are not twisted. If your child unclips themselves during a trip, pull over and clip them in again.
- Choose a car that is fitted with ISOFIX and ensure your child seat is ISOFIX compliant. ISOFIX ensures quick, simple installation and removal, with clear indicators showing when you’ve fitted the car seat correctly and safely. ISOFIX also maintains a rigid, permanent connection between the child car seat and the vehicle, meaning less force will impact you child if you need to brake quickly.
How do you keep your children safe around cars?
With a new look and new technology including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality as well as ISOFIX child seat anchorages and a Rear View Camera standard across the range, Holden Captiva is the SUV for your little troopers.
Now available with the flexibility of 5 or 7 seats, with 2WD or AWD options and a choice of 3 engines including a fuel efficient turbo-diesel, Holden Captiva is the perfect SUV for your family’s needs.
Test-drive one today at your nearest Holden Dealer.
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**The “Hold My Hand” magnet is provided as a reminder to keep your kids close around roads and traffic. It is not a safety device and should not be relied on as such. Before signing up for your own magnet, please read the Conditions of Entry for more information.