Tricounty News

Neighorhood vehicle safety

We love to let our kids out to play in the afternoon. It's good for them to burn off some energy. Unfortunately, statistics show that too many children are injured by neighborhood cars each year. Consider the following: • 42 percent of non-traffic, non-crash fatalities between 1999 and 2003 were back-over deaths involving children under the age of 14. Last year, there were 226 child fatalities related to non-crash car accidents, according to www.kidsandcars.com. The Center for Disease Control reports that 9,100 children are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms for non traffic, non crash incidents. While these accidents seem out of our control, there are ways you can protect your family: 1. Know the regularly scheduled vehicles in your neighborhood - garbage trucks, public transit, mail trucks, etc. These trucks are usually large and tend to have blind spots where children can be easily missed by the driver. By knowing the schedules of your neighborhood vehicles, you can warn your kids about them. Also, if you see one of the regularly scheduled drivers behaving in an unsafe manner, report them. 2. Be aware of driveway hazards - Any vehicles coming in and out of your driveway can be dangerous. Kids and Cars suggests a) don't let your kids play in or around the driveway, b) children should be asked to stand together in a visible spot before anyone in a vehicle leaves the driveway c) make sure that the people supervising children, particularly toddlers, know exactly when drivers are leaving so the children don't venture out to the driveway. Be observant when it comes to other drivers in your neighborhood and report those who may be putting your children in danger. You are the best protection your children have. Don Keenan, founder of the Keenan's Kids Foundation, has published a book on kids safety titled, 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe, which is available at www.balloonpress.com or at www.amazon.com. Proceeds benefit the Keenan's Kids Foundation.