More than 200 children die every year because someone backed-over the child with a car. Tragically, usually that "someone" is their own parent. It's almost too horrible to imagine.
Every week in the United States about 50 children are back over by a vehicle, 48 are treated in emergency rooms, and at least two children die. That totals about 17,000 children who are injured by back-over incidents, but who, thankfully, survive.
The wonderful organization called Kids And Cars, headed by Janette Fennell is trying to do everything possible to prevent these tragedies. She gathered together with parents of children killed in backover incidents at a Capitol Hill press event, along with Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Republican Rep. Peter King. They all want the Obama administration to release a rear visibility rule for motor vehicles. This would mean rearview cameras would be standard equipment for all motor vehicles.
If you haven't ever driven a car with a rearview camera, or been a passenger in one, let me tell you, they are fantastic. What a lifesaving piece of technology. They are especially valuable in trucks and SUVs, because the likelihood is ever greater in those vehicles that the driver might not see a youngster behind the vehicles as it is backing out. Currently rearview cameras are optional equipment. But since they so very clearly can save a child's life, the push is on to make them standard.
The truth is, this safety rule was passed a long time ago, way back in February 2008. At that time, the timetable was three years. The rule should have been issued in February 2011. So what's been done? Nothing.
"It is clear from so many other actions that President Obama has the safety of our children as a top priority. We urge the President to take one simple step today and issue the rear visibility rule," Fennell said. "These unacceptable and unnecessary deaths and injuries from backover incidents must stop."
Joan Claybrook, a former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated, "Rearview cameras are available and affordable."
She went on to say every day of delay puts children at risk.
One of the most heartbreaking testimonials came from Ellen Adams of Ponte Vedra, Fla. Her husband accidentally backed-over their daughter and killed the little girl. He just couldn't handle the guilt. He committed suicide.
She said, "People kept asking me, after my daughter was backed over and killed, and my husband subsequently committed suicide, why I didn't have a nervous breakdown? My response was easy...who would be left for my son? I urge the President to protect other families from these preventable tragedies."
Kids And Cars urges all adults to heighten their awareness before they engage a vehicle into reverse; especially when children are present. Young children are impulsive and unpredictable; still have very poor judgment and little understanding of danger.
In addition, young children do not recognize boundaries such as property lines, sidewalks, driveways, or parking spaces. Toddlers have established independent mobility between the ages of 12-23 months, but the concept of personal safety is absent. Backovers are often the predictable consequence of a child following a parent into the driveway and standing behind their vehicle without their parent's knowledge.
Backovers can happen in ANY vehicle because all vehicles have a blind zone; the area behind a vehicle you cannot see from the driver's seat. The danger tends to increase with larger vehicles.
It's always best to look carefully behind the vehicle before you get in and again before you put the car in gear to back up. Remember to back up slowly, and pay attention to your mirrors.