Get behind the wheel of a car and children disappear
HOW do you make a child invisible? Easy, just get behind the wheel of a car.
Over the past five years in Queensland alone, 196 children aged 0-15 have been seriously injured in low speed run-over events. A further 18 children during that time were killed.
According to Queensland's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, one child every week is run over in their own driveway somewhere in Australia.
To make matters worse, the people responsible for most of these deaths and injuries are the people who love these children the most - their parents.
All it takes is a moment's inattention, a focus placed on the myriad of things to do in the day, rather than the immediate surroundings that can allow tragedy to strike.
The organisers of Fatality Free Friday (being staged today), in association with Kidsafe Queensland, recently made a group of children disappear in a dramatic message to all drivers about the inherent blind spots found in all vehicles.
Children under the age of 10, sat down behind four of the most popular sizes of vehicles - a four-wheel drive, a people mover, a family sedan and a hatchback - and from driver's seat, and all of them "disappeared".
In fact, a driver in a popular make of full sized sedan cannot see a seated child more than 11 metres behind the vehicle.
While 4WD vehicles were involved in 10 of the 18 fatalities, it is ordinary passenger cars that account for the majority of the accidents causing major injuries. Eighty-four percent of vehicles involved in low speed run over incidents were passenger vehicles.
The good news is these incidents are entirely avoidable. All it takes is a little time and organisation.
When you're heading out with the kids, make sure that they are in secure in their car seats before you get into the driver's seat. If the children aren't going with you, ensure that another adult has all the children inside the house or well away from the vehicle before you depart.
Lastly, take 'the long way around' to get to the driver's seat. Not only does it mean you can check that children aren't nearby but it also allows you to do a scan for children's toys or other obstacles laying in the driveway.
Russell White's experience in the driver training industry spans more than 24 years. He is widely regarded as one of Australia's leading road safety advocates. His business offers the complete range of driver training and fleet management services, visit driversafety.com.au