Driveway run overs 1 - 2 Year Olds

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How big a problem is this?

Children at this age and stage are naturally drawn to playing outdoors. This is not only great for their development but also helps them to remain healthy. However, while playing outside is important, making sure your child is safe is just as important.

Until relatively recently, every year in New Zealand, approximately 5 children were being killed in a driveway runover and 20 more were being hospitalised? This has improved 2015-2020, thankfully, but no one would want to go back to that level again.

Who does it affect?

Children aged 2 years are most at risk because they are too small to be seen behind a vehicle, and often slip unseen through an open gate and end up in the path of a departing car. The risk is even greater if the driveway is near an unfenced play area, or if it is long. Driveways that are shared, in a quiet road or cul-de-sac or leads to an area where there is lots of parking space are also very risky.

The good news is that by following a few simple tips you can keep your child safe around driveways.

Top Tips

  • Check for children before driving off

  • Supervise children around vehicles

  • Separate play areas from driveways

  • Fence off the driveway from the main play area

  • Make it difficult for children to access the driveway by installing security doors or gates

  • Always check behind your vehicle before reversing and know where your children are before getting in.

  • If you need to leave your vehicle make sure it is always switched off

  • If you are around cars, hold your child’s hand and keep them close.

  • Have a designated safe area where children learn to wait when a vehicle is leaving your driveway, and where drivers can see them.

First Aid

Head Injury

If your child has been run over they may have bone fracture or a serious head injury and are in pain or for any of the following reasons, call 111 immediately. Do this if your child:

  • is, or has been, unconscious (can’t be woken up)

  • is being sick or seems sleepy

  • has trouble breathing

  • bleeding and you can’t stop the bleeding

  • there is bleeding from an ear.

Fractures First Aid

Keep the injured arm or leg still. Someone who knows how to might use a splint to keep it still. You can support the injured arm or leg with a pillow or sling. Raise the arm or leg higher than the heart to help reduce swelling. Your child will need pain relief.
If your child does not need ambulance-level care, take them to the nearest hospital Emergency Department.

Loss of Consciousness First Aid

Follow Drs ABCD for start CPR

D Dangers? Check for any dangers to yourself such as electricity or traffic.
R Responsive? Check responsiveness by calling loudly and shaking the child's arm.
S Send for help. Dial 111 and confirm an ambulance is on its way. Use the appropriate emergency number in other countries.
A Airway. Open the airway by moving the head into a neutral position and lifting the chin. Do not tilt the head back too far.
B Breathing. Look and feel for movement of the lower chest and stomach area. Listen and feel for air coming from the nose or mouth.
C CPR. If the child is not breathing, start CPR - 30 compressions to 2 breaths. Put the child on a firm surface. Place 2 fingers of one hand (for a baby) or the heel of one hand (for a child) in the centre of the chest just below the nipples. Push down hard and fast 30 times in about 15 seconds (push down one-third of chest depth).
Once you have completed 30 compressions (pushes) on the chest, breathe into the baby's mouth 2 times. Seal your lips around the baby's mouth and nose. For a child over 1, you may need to breathe into their mouth and pinch their nose closed. Gently puff into the child until you see their chest rise.
Continue with the cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives.
D Defibrillator. Attach defibrillator as soon as it is available and follow prompts.
Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what to do.

Puncture wounds

A puncture wound is when something penetrates layers of skin, such as a knife, nail or tooth. Bacteria can be carried to the tissue under the skin. Puncture wounds usually close very quickly and need to be cleaned thoroughly to prevent infection.

Self-care for puncture wounds
If your child has a puncture wound, follow these steps to help it heal well.

1. wash your hands with soap and water before and after cleaning the wound
2. flush the wound with running tap water to remove all dirt
3. check whether a tetanus injection is needed
4. a booster injection is recommended if it is more than 10 years since your child's last tetanus injection or 5 years if the wound is dirty, contaminated or deep

When to seek help for puncture wounds
See your family doctor or nurse if:
• there is something stuck in the puncture wound
• your child has any numbness or tingling below the puncture

If you have managed to clean and dress the wound, keep an eye on it and see your doctor if:
• your child has any new loss of feeling, numbness or inability to move limb
• there is increased redness, swelling, tenderness or it becomes warm to touch
• red streaks develop
• there is a coloured or smelly discharge
• the wound has not healed after 2 weeks

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what you should do. Most of this page is taken from the Healthline resource online at the Ministry of Health website.

Link to Safekids resources

Driveway Runover Resources

Links to other organisations’ resources

New Zealand Transport Agency Feet First Resources

Living Streets Aotearoa

New Zealand Transport Agency Pedestrian Planning and Design Guidance

Walk Auckland

Auckland Transport's Travelwise Schools Programme