There are horror stories in the news almost daily about kids who are hurt or killed by a family member’s car on the home driveway. Driver inattention and kids’ ability to move suddenly make a deadly combination. Some common sense safety tips for both drivers and kids to learn and obey may avoid such tragedies from ever happening.
1. If your children play outside, whether alone or with other kids, teach them the basics of safety very early. This includes every child from age two to teens. The simplest lesson is to avoid playing on the driveway or inside the garage at all times. If there’s room, set up an appropriate play area, preferably fenced in, behind the house or in the front away from the garage and driveway. If you live in an apartment house, arrange for nearby areas where kids can play without danger from cars.
2. A very young child may not yet have the fear of cars that’s absolutely necessary for total safety. The first lesson for little ones is to stay away from cars, whether parked or moving, unless holding an adult’s hand. For example, when Dad gets into the family car to go to work in the morning, the child may want to wave goodbye. Be sure the child is behind a locked screen door, or if outside, holding Mom’s hand. The same precaution applies when Dad is coming home at night, particularly if it is already dark outside.
3. Family drivers must assume the absolute responsibility all activities around the garage and driveway. They need to have unobstructed visual views of all nearby children before backing out of the garage or driving in along the driveway.
4. Keep the car locked when children are around the garage and driveway. Otherwise, new teen drivers and those approaching driving age may want to test their driving skills or with other neighborhood teens, without realizing the dangers to younger kids who may be nearby. Give out keys to younger drivers and learners only when you know it will be safe.
5. If your home is in a busy city traffic area, your children must be taught to be constantly watchful for cars and trucks. Some may use your driveway to turn around or to deliver items to your house or apartment building.
Child driveway safety is a never-ending responsibility for parents. A thoughtless moment by adult drivers or children playing in the garage or driveway can result in tragedy.