‘Don’t go if you don’t know’ where your kids are to keep them safe from driveway run overs

9 April 2019 

Children’s Health Queensland is urging families to be extra vigilant when moving and reversing vehicles when young children are around, to avoid accidental run overs.

Emergency data shows Queensland Children’s Hospital clinicians alone treated almost one child a month for serious injuries caused by a low speed vehicle run over (LSVRO) in 2018.

These injuries ranged from friction burns, cuts, scrapes and bruises, to internal damage, crushed foot, crushed heads and multiple other injuries involving chest, abdomen, arms and legs.

QCH saw one LSVRO death in 2018 and four were recorded across the state in 2017. Already this year, QCH has seen two LSVRO incidents so far this year.

Dr Bronwyn Griffin, who lead a statewide study into low-speed vehicle runovers in 2010, said the total number of incidents would be much higher when minor injuries and ‘near misses’ are considered.

A previous study, conducted in 2010 through the Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, found that in Queensland, approximately three children per week were involved in a low speed vehicle run over incident, and the zero to four-year-old age group were the most at risk (69 per cent of all incidents).

“This is, as you would expect, be due to the small child’s complete lack of awareness of danger combined with the child rapidly developing from crawling to walking to running in a short amount of time.

“However, older children can also be severely or fatally injured around the family home, but also around schools, retail areas, public spaces and rural areas.

“It’s important to always remain hyper vigilant when moving vehicles while children of any age are around,” she said.

Dr Griffin said the study also found the rate of LSVROs had not dropped despite the introduction of reverse cameras and sensors.

“Cameras are designed to prevent damage to cars not children – and sometimes a child may not be visible until it’s too late,” Dr Griffin said.

“It’s important for all drivers to take extra precaution on school holidays as normal routines are disrupted and children are at home. Also be aware around camping grounds and shopping centres.”

Susan Teerds from Kidsafe Queensland said families can reduce the risk of LSVROs by following three simple steps:

  • Supervise
  • Separate
  • See.

“When cars are moving around in carparks or in the driveway, hold your children close to you and hold their hands so they cannot run off,” Susan said.

“Separate the driveway from play areas with a physical barrier or fence, much like a pool fence.

“See where you are going before you move the car, look around the car to be sure there are no small children hiding around or under the car and keep children in mind when using reversing cameras and sensors.”

Please be diligent when moving your vehicle around children – always.

For tips around avoiding a LSVRO, please visit the Kidsafe website.


Fast facts:

  • Many incidents occur while the vehicle is reversing, but children can also be run over while the vehicle is moving forwards.
  • Boys are more often involved than girls.
  • Driveway runovers can be fatal, especially in the 12-to-24-month age group.
  • Any vehicle type can be involved in a low-speed runover that causes serious injury to a child, but 4WDs and utilities are most commonly associated with deaths because they are heavier vehicles.
  • Driveways longer than 12 metres, shared driveways, curved driveways or those placed along a side boundary of the property increase the risk.

Media contact:  t: +61 7 3068 5111   e: chqnews@health.qld.gov.au