Yesterday, an 18-month-old South Australian girl was tragically killed when her dad reversed his car out of the driveway and accidentally ran over her.
In the hours since the accident, police have said the tragic death is a reminder for parents to take care and to always know where their children are.
This is a post from Mamamia contributor, Catherine King, about what we can all do to make sure children are safe at home.
One of the things I was not prepared for when I became a new Mum (and there were many at the age of 42!) was just how anxious I would feel about my son’s safety.
What was the safest pram, cot or car seat? Were the cords on our curtains out of reach? Could our dogs be allowed near him? Despite my best planning, I knew it was impossible to imagine every eventuality that could befall him.
By their very nature toddlers are enterprising, curious, unpredictable and most of all really really fast (My enterprising son worked out how to pull the vent off our central heating system when he was 13 months old and I caught him trying to climb into the heating ducts. Who knew you could do that!).
As he got older and thankfully has so far avoided serious harm, I’ve become a little more confident. But like any parent, I remain highly sensitive to stories that involve the death or injury of a child. Stories that would have been tragic but quickly forgotten before I had a child are now too often the subject of a ‘did you see the story about?’ conversation. Some I find simply too hard to read.
One that makes any parent shudder is the tragedy of children, who are usually under the age of five, killed or injured when run over in the driveway of their own home.
Between 2001 and 2010, 66 children aged fourteen or younger were killed by motor vehicles around the family home. That’s about seven children every year.
The vast majority of these tragedies involved children under five. Most of the accidents involved a reversing vehicle. To compound the tragedy, it was generally a family member at the wheel.
These statistics are included in a new report I released recently on Child pedestrian safety: driveway deaths and low-speed vehicle run-overs.
I am speaking up about it today not because I want to add to parental anxiety but because as a community of parents this is something we can really do something about.
We all want to think such a disaster could not happen to us. But the more I have talked to parents who have lost children in this way the more I understand just how easily it can happen.