Avoiding dangers on your doorstep

Blog post posted on 08/09/16 |

This is a busy week in the calendar for many parents and carers as the new school year gets into full swing.

As the busy mornings and tight schedules take over, basic safety measures and considerations can be unintentionally overlooked. Although we often hear about accidents involving children as pedestrians or passengers in cars that crash, we are less likely to hear about those incidents that take place within our own driveways or close to home. Yet these events can be just as severe and are often easily avoided.

If you are a parent or responsible for looking after small children, I do not need to offend you by telling you what you already know…toddlers move fast, are unpredictable and can achieve things you thought unimaginable in the space of a mere ten seconds (when did you learn to unlock my iPhone and ask Siri for Malteasers?!).

Sometimes it can be hard to apply the same mentality to every single scenario, particularly when the concept of a child strapped into a car seat seems far less daunting than one crawling across an obstacle ridden hardwood floor. However child casualties involving ‘in-car’ or ‘driveway’ accidents amount to over 4000 UK hospital admissions a year, so what we may have previously considered to be low risk can actually be more dangerous than we think.

As the school and nursey term recommences, it is not unusual for us to try and cut a few seconds off the morning run at any opportunity that presents itself. If that means returning quickly to retrieve a forgotten mobile while the kids are still in the car, then it is not uncommon. 95% per cent of parents surveyed in a recent ‘Children In and Around Cars’ report by ROSPA, revealed that there had been an occasion where they had left their child unattended in the car on the driveway.  Let’s make a conscience effort to change old habits!

Whether you are a parent, carer, relative or neighbour, it’s worth taking a look at some pointers to help you towards avoiding dangers on your doorstep this autumn.

  • Always keep your keys on you. Never leave them in the ignition or on the seat - even if you think that they are far out of reach – we all know how children can surprise us.
  • Always take your children with you – even if you are only popping into the house or wheeling the bins out. Adding 2 more minutes to the journey or having to entertain stroppy madams are nothing in comparison to an unwanted injury.
  • Keep your window wound down so you can have a better sense of what’s going on around you, as opposed to just relying on rear-view and wing mirrors or reversing cameras and sensors.
  • Always be aware of blind spots, children could be hidden from view.
  • Always reverse very slowly out of your drive, so you can keep an eye out and are able to stop suddenly should you need to.
  • Always double check the car before remote locking your vehicle…the little monkeys may have just snuck back in for no logical reason whatsoever

The best way to avoid additional stress is through keeping on top of everything that you have the power to control. Tantrums and tears may not be as easily averted, but driveway incidents are. Follow the above tips and stay safe this school run.

Thenuka Mahendrarasa, IAM RoadSmart social media executive