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Backover Accidents a Serious Risk for Toddlers and Younger Children

Two children die each week in the United States after getting backed over by a car, minivan, pickup truck or SUV. Another 48 suffer injuries severe enough to require hospital care. The problem has less to do with poor driving, according to a sobering Consumer Reports car safety analysis, than with the large blind spots all vehicles have.

Those rear blind spots increase in size along with the size of the car or truck and the shortness of the driver. The breakdown looks like this:

  • Midsized sedan: 13-17 feet
  • Minivan: 13-23 feet
  • Small SUV: 15-25 feet
  • Large SUV: 29-51 feet

KidsandCars.org notes that babies and toddlers are at particular risk for getting backed over by parents because of "bye-bye syndrome." The youngest children are most prone to stand or run behind a vehicle waving goodbye, putting themselves directly in the path of a car or SUV while also taking themselves out the driver's sight.



Both Consumer Reports and the website recommend walking all around your vehicle before getting in and moving it, installing a backup camera or crossview mirrors, and teaching kids from the youngest age to understand that any car, truck, bus, tractor trailer or motorcycle can begin moving at any time.

I experienced this scary danger myself recently in Norfolk, VA. I was driving my kids to school in my wife's Chrysler Town and Country minivan, backing out of our driveway. At the last second, a car was zooming down the street and I almost backed into it. It made me realize how close we can be at any moment to a personal tragedy when behind the wheel.

Tragically, the cities of Hampton Roads have witnessed several backover accident in which children have died. Preventing future deaths and injuries requires taking the utmost care in recognizing when children are behind or near our vehicles and making sure the path is clear before pulling out of any parking space or driveway.

EJL
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