Blind Spots a Big Danger for Young Children: Child Injury Prevention

by John McKiggan

Everyone who has learned to drive knows that all vehicles have “blind spots” in the back, sides and corners where the vehicles rear view or side view mirrors don’t provide adequate visibility.

Children Injured Every Day

Everyday, young children are injured when they are backed over by a motor vehicle. More than 70% of children injured in “backing up” accidents are hit by a driver who’s related to them, usually their parent.

Young children are particularly at risk. Toddlers up to 2 years of age represent 70% of all backing up victims. Young children simply don’t understand the danger posed by moving vehicles.

blind_spots_500.jpgBlind Spot Increases with Vehicle Size

As the popularity of passenger vans, SUVs and pickup trucks has grown in North America, vehicles have gotten longer, higher and larger and the blind spots for these vehicles have gotten bigger.

Drivers are often to blame because they don’t understand, or underestimate, the risk presented by blind spots. conducted tests that showed for the average driver in a sedan the blind spot extends up to 10 feet behind the vehicle. For SUVs the blind spot is more than 20 feet and for a pickup truck is more than 30 feet! The shorter the driver is the larger the blind spot.

Completely Preventable

Fortunately, backings up accidents are preventable. Newer vehicles can be purchased with video cameras or rear sensor systems. After market products can be purchased so that older vehicles can have these systems installed.

Safety Doesn’t Have to Cost

Drivers don’t have to spend money to protect the safety of their children. There are a number of simple things that drivers can do to reduce the risk of backing up accidents.

Here is a list of safety tips to prevent or reduce backing up accidents. Although some of the tips may seem like common sense, as the old saying goes: “common sense is not all that common”.

1. Take a look behind your car before backing up.

2. Be aware of where your children are!

3. Tell children to move away from your vehicle before you move it.

4. Teach them! Teach your children that parked vehicles can move suddenly. Tell them that even though they can see the car, the driver may not be able to see them.

5. Know that steep hills and larger vehicles increase the size of the blind spot behind the vehicle.

6. Keep bicycles, toys and sports equipment out of your driveway.

7. Most Important. Pay attention!

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