Vehicle Safety Features Save Lives

By: Meredith Stancik & Sylvia Villarreal Email
By: Meredith Stancik & Sylvia Villarreal Email

Family and friends will gather Wednesday night to remember a Caldwell toddler killed Monday.

The 2-year-old boy was killed Monday night when police say he was accidentally run over by an SUV at the child's home.

Officers say a family friend was leaving the home when he backed out of the driveway and hit the boy, killing him.

The death has been ruled an accident, but an autopsy has been ordered.

Tragic accidents like this one are devastating and unfortunately not uncommon.

In the United States, 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week, and at least two of those accidents result in fatalities.

Back overs can happen in any vehicle because all vehicles have a blind zone, the area behind a car you can't see from the driver's seat.

However, technology is helping.

Some vehicles will actually start beeping at you, if something is behind the car.

"The closer you get the louder and more often it beeps letting you know you're fixing to back into something." Paul Atkinson with Atkinson Toyota said.

These days automobiles are equipped with a variety of safety mechanisms that alert drivers to potentially dangerous situations.

"When you put the vehicle in reverse it automatically responds to a back up camera," Atkinson said.

Over the past several years auto makers have learned to use radar signals and cameras to help drivers navigate and it's these advances that give many peace of mind...especially when there are little ones who could be anywhere.

"I think it's wonderful, I think it's a good idea and if it makes the parents feel more comfortable it's a wonderful idea," one consumer said.

It's that wonderful idea that's taken automobile safety to the next level and an idea that could save the life of some of your most precious cargo because before you hit the open road, you have to first make it out of your driveway.

"I think anything you can do to make a car safer is better," another consumer said. is a national non-profit organization that's committed to keeping kids safe in and around vehicles. Here are a few of their safety recommendations. A link can be found on the bottom of this story, for more information. recommendations to keep children safe include:

•Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.

•Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.

•Teach children that "parked" vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.
•Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.
•Measure the size of your blind zone (area) behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.

•Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV's, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.

•Hold children's hand firmly when leaving the vehicle.

•Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle and always set the emergency brake.

•Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.

•Homeowners should trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.

•Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

•Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.

•Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.

•Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.

•Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.
These precautions can save lives.

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