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Take a SEC to prevent driveway run-over tragedies

Date: 01 November 2011

Seven out of 10 parents allow children to play on or near the driveway unsupervised, despite the danger of being run-over accidentally, new Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research shows.

The study of nearly 140 caregivers across Queensland also found that 77 per cent of parents surveyed said the driveway was a safe space, with more than half of respondents sometimes using the driveway as a play area for children.

Dr Kerry Armstrong, from the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q), will present her research findings at the 10th National Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion in Brisbane from November 2 to 4.

The conference, hosted by the Australian Injury Prevention Network and CARRS-Q, will bring about 250 delegates to Brisbane to speak on topics including alcohol, youth and substance-related injury; child safety; road and transport safety; workplace injury and prevention; and water safety.

Dr Armstrong said awareness campaigns were needed to stop children from being accidentally run-over in driveways.

"Parents in Australia are aware of pool safety. They need to have the same sort of educational process around the driveway to prevent low-speed vehicle run-overs," she said.

"It only takes a second for these horrible and tragic incidents to happen."

Dr Armstrong said four children under the age of five were killed and 81 sent to hospital on average each year after being run-over in Queensland driveways.

She said across Australia, on average, one child a week was struck by a car in a driveway, with the rate slightly higher in rural areas.

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Dr Armstrong said nearly 88 per cent of survey respondents reported owning a sedan and 55 per cent had four-wheel drive vehicles, which were more likely to be involved in driveway run-overs.

"It's very difficult to see the small stature of a child behind a large vehicle," she said.

Dr Armstrong will present an educational brochure called Prevent Driveway Runovers: It only takes a SEC, which will help caregivers think about Supervision, Environment and Child competency (SEC).

She said she would recommend to the Queensland Injury Prevention Council that the brochure be distributed to families across the state through kindergartens.

"A change in routine, such as visitors to the home or being in a rush, can cause a lapse in safety and judgement. It's important to get the right information out," she said.

Visit www.injuryprevention2011.com for conference information.

Media contact: Stephanie Harrington, QUT media officer, 3138 1150, stephanie.harrington@qut.edu.au

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.