On average, more than five children are killed and 47 seriously injured in driveways each year across Australia.
It’s a sad statistic that affects more than just the immediate victim and their parents – it’s also something that paramedics, nurses and doctors have to face too.
We spoke with a paediatric nurse to find out what it’s like on the frontline.
How long have you been a nurse?
I started nursing seven years ago, and have been a registered nurse in paediatrics for four years now. I work in a general paediatrics ward where we look after infants, children and adolescents from birth to 15 years in medical, surgical and orthopaedics fields.
My first few weeks as a paediatric nurse were overwhelming, exciting and scary.
Thankfully, I work on an amazing ward with such caring nurses that took me under their wingু and showed me the ropes. It wasn’t long before I was on my own and started being in-charge and running shifts.
Can you remember the first time you looked after a child who had been injured in a driveway incident?
Since I started nursing, I have seen so many accidents, traumas, broken bones and bizarre explanations for them that none of it surprises me anymore. My first memory of a driveway trauma was an 18-month-old baby who came in with a fractured femur and as a result, needed a traction – which, for people who have never seen it before, looks like some kind of medieval trauma device for stretching the bones out to align them again after a break.
Basically the child is placed in a bed with a metal frame around the top; the leg is put in a sling and lifted up over the frame with weights. The process can take up to six weeks, in which time the child is confined to the bed on their back with their leg immobilised.
Did the parents tell you how the incident occurred?
The family told the paramedics, the emergency department, the doctors and every nurse the same consistent story of what happened (which I have learnt is THE very best thing you can do in any incident like this). The father was reversing out of the driveway in a 4WD, the toddler ran across to grab a ball and fell, the father ran over his foot, which trapped it when he rolled and broke the femur.