31 Mar, 14 | by Bridie Scott-Parker
PubMed abounds with articles exploring the epidemiology of low speed vehicle run-overs (e.g., doi: 10.1136/ip.2010.030304; 10.1111/jpc.12188; 10.1111/wvn.12014; 10.1136/injuryprev-2013-040932; 10.1186/1471-2458-14-245; 10.1186/1471-2458-14-245). The devastating consequences of low speed vehicle run-over incidents has led to a plethora of suggested intervention and ‘tips’ for parents and others interested in child and infant injury prevention (for example, http://www.kidsafewa.com.au/drivewaysafety.html; http://www.safekids.org.nz/index.php/page/driveway-run-over-kit-locations; http://www.keepyourchildsafe.org/child-safety-book/child-driveway-accidents.html). In addition, after-market reversing cameras are available for purchase, and many new cars now come with this option as a standard feature.
Despite these resources, low speed vehicle run-overs continue to occur and they are not an isolated phenomenon unfortunately. Examples are commonly found in the news media (e.g., in Australia earlier this month: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2153058/baby-hospitalised-after-being-run-over-in-driveway-by-4wd/). In New Zealand, a news report summarising a recent tragedy finished with a summary of 7 other driveway deaths (see http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9879675/Child-run-over-in-driveway-dies). Similar events are also summarised in an article reporting a 2013 tragedy in Texas (see http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_55db2af5-f68b-5344-9e00-60c79f109c6a.html).
So how do we progress in preventing injury to our most vulnerable? Are parents and other caregivers unaware of the potentially-devastating injuries that can be sustained in the family driveway, thus suggesting that education is the key? Or is engineering, in the form of barriers and mandatory cameras, the solution? I would argue that a multilevel approach is needed, and is needed urgently. I welcome your ideas!