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Linda Chalat
Linda Chalat
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 366

Driveway Accidents Deadly for Toddlers

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A woman who operates a licensed day care business out of her Thornton home ran over an 18-month-old boy yesterday as she backed out of her driveway, Thornton Police spokesman reported. The care provider had just loaded children into the vehicle and started backing up, believing all were inside.

She told police that as she backed up, she heard a bump, immediately stopped the car and found she had hit the little boy. She immediately called 911 and tried to administer first aid to the child.

When police arrived at the home in the 9000 block of Jackson Street at about 4:40 p.m. Thursday they found the child lying in the driveway suffering from severe head trauma. The child was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

Drugs and alcohol are not suspected in the accident and the investigation is on-going. The case will be presented to the district attorney who will decide if charges will be filed. A potential charge could be careless driving resulting in death, he added.

According to Kids and Cars (www.kidsandcars.org), 50 children each week are injured in accidents in which they are backed over by cars, usually in their own driveways. Of that number, two die. These incidents usually merit a blurb in the local paper, but escape larger notice because the government does not collect data on these types of accidents since they do not occur on public roadways.

Consumer safety advocates are fighting for federal regulations for rear visibility standards, as well as required safety equipment on cars such as back-up cameras and sensors to detect obstacles. Car manufacturers are largely fighting the idea because of the increased costs.

In addition to use of safety equipment on vehicles, follow these steps to avoid driveway accidents:

•Always know for certain where your child is before starting your vehicle. You may think he or she is watching television, but the child may have decided to run outside for one last goodbye.

•Always lock your car. Children can get into an unlocked car and, in trying to emulate Mommy or Daddy driving, can put it into gear, potentially harming themselves or other children. They can also lock themselves in and may suffer heat stroke or hypothermia.

•Do not use the driveway as a recreational area. If unavoidable, then cars should not be in the garage when the children are playing, and brightly colored, portable barriers should be put up at the end of the driveway to discourage anyone from turning in.