Alarming statistic: Each week 110 children are hit by cars in parking lots, driveways in U.S.

Kids and Car Safety is a national non-profit working to stop all car related incidents involving children

Keeping your child safe is a parent’s number one priority, but sometimes accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

For the past 30 years, national non-profit, Kids and Car Safety has made it their mission to save the lives of kids in and around vehicles.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, you have to always assume that children can be around,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.

Rollins says every week in our country, 110 kids are hit by vehicles in parking lots and driveways.

“Picture 110 children standing in front of you. Every week, that’s how many children are being run over because drivers just can’t see them,” Rollins said.

Of those incidents, 60 of them are frontovers and 50 are backovers.

Frontovers are when a child is hit by a vehicle that is moving forward.

Backovers are the opposite of a frontover. These happen when a vehicle is moving backward and hits a child.

Rollins says many of these accidents happen due to drivers not being able to see a child because that child is in the car’s blind zone.

A “blind zone” is different from a “blind spot” as the blind zone refers to areas that cannot be seen by a driver slowly moving their vehicle. The term “blind spot,” is most widely used when talking about the area beside a vehicle that can lead to crashes when changing lanes.

For the back of your vehicle, the blind zone can be up to 50 feet. For the front, it can be up to 15 feet. Rollins says, the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind zone.

“If you look at the hood, it is tipped downwards so you have a better field of view but now we’ve got these SUVs that are very boxy. They go straight out and then down and that is creating an area that’s bigger where you can’t see small children,” said Rollins.

Local parents at a Mother’s Day Out program on the west side say they are teaching their children from a young age how to be safe when around cars.

“Knowing to stop and look. Knowing to stay close to me, especially with multiple little ones, it’s impossible to have eyes and hands on everybody at the same time,” said Danielle Villarreal, mother of four.

Rollins says, when you’re walking through parking lots, there are certain steps you can take as a parent to keep your child safe from moving vehicles.

  • Carry them
  • Put them in a stroller
  • Put them in a cart
  • Hold their hand (as a good backup option)

“Whatever you can do to make sure that toddlers especially are not walking on their own two feet through a parking lot, that is the best option,” Rollins said.

Parents at the Mother’s Day Out program say it’s not just them or the kids that need to learn parking lot safety, but everyone else should as well.

“There’s going to be someone that’s darting out so let’s just drive as though that’s going to happen. I think if other people kind of anticipate that, that can keep everyone safer,” said Joshua Swain, father of two.

When told the statistic of 110 kids hit weekly, the director of the Northwest Hills MDO program, Jennifer Staver had this to say:

“That’s unacceptable. There’s absolutely no reason. There’s no reason for that to happen. Everybody needs to slow down, take a deep breath, look around and pay attention. ” Staver continued, “You can’t undo hitting a child. You can’t undo causing an accident and the guilt that you have and the families whose lives you devastated if that happened. 5 minutes doesn’t matter.”

Parking lots aren’t the only areas where children are hit by cars, it happens at home and in neighborhoods.

Rollins suggests:

  • Have direct eye contact with all children anytime someone is expected to come to your house or leave
  • Child-proof doorknobs so your child can’t open the door on their own
  • Use stick-on alarms so you can hear anytime a door is opened in your home.

“Toddlers literally cannot understand danger. They don’t have the cognitive ability. They don’t understand that a parked vehicle might start moving,” said Rollins.

Looking to the future, Rollins says Kids and Car Safety is pushing for ‘360′ or ‘birds-eye view’ camera systems to be installed in all new vehicles.

About the Author

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.

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