Your new concrete driveway is not an extension of your children’s play area, a rule that, sadly, many families in Australia fail to enforce, as according to statistics, one child a week gets accidentally run over in their home driveway. It is usually the lack of safety awareness and their inquisitive nature that bring younger children into contact with moving vehicles, or that has children running around cars when people either arrive or are about to leave, which is the main problem. Where young children are concerned, concrete driveways in Melbourne need to be treated with the same level of caution as other public highways.
RISKS YOUNG CHILDREN FACE ON CONCRETE DRIVEWAYS
In the short period of time taken for a driver to get into their car, start up the engine and reverse their vehicle out of the driveway, a young child could have moved from a safe position and put themselves in the path of the car or van. When sitting in their vehicle, a driver can be seated with their eye level above the height of small children. If a child gets directly behind you or is off to one side, it can be almost impossible to see them, let alone hear them once the engine is turned on. Drivers are all too aware of “blind spots” when the vehicle is in motion, but the same blind spots apply when you’re preparing to exit your driveway too.
Also, if you have not had your concrete driveway installed by a professional company, after a while the cement and service could start to crumble and crack. This could present you with a higher risk of trips and falls, and small children or parents carrying toddlers or babies are at a higher risk of tumbling over, causing damage to limbs or, even worse, a head injury.
DRIVEWAY SAFETY TIPS
If you are thinking about installing a new concrete driveway, then take the time to decide on the right design and surface texture. Creating a non-slip finish will help reduce slips and falls when people are getting in and out of their vehicles, or when others are approaching the home or business premises on foot. If it is your home driveway, then consider using decorative concrete paving for the pedestrian or “safe area”. If you have a young family, this can be a clear marker for young children as the place to stand when waving off visitors, or before being allowed to get into the family car.
Using a professional to install a concrete driveway also means a harder, smoother surface without any jagged edges that could cause smaller children to trip and cut their hands and legs. In the long run, the concrete will also remain more durable and less prone to cracks or crevices that can cause such trips and falls. If the driveway was already there when you bought your property, and it is in a poor state of repair, then think about taking up the old surface and getting a professional concrete driveway set down.
Educate your children, as well as all the car drivers in the house, in the ways of driveway safety. This means that before getting into the car and driving off, drivers should walk around the vehicle to make sure children are not behind it or under any parked vehicles. Consider putting up a notice that says “Slow down – children in driveway” at the entrance to your home so that you are reminded to check before pulling into the driveway, as will be any visitors to your premises.
Keep a hold on young children’s hands when near driveways, parking bays or whenever moving vehicles are about, and make sure that they are always accompanied by an adult when getting in and out of cars. If you have parking sensors on the car that you drive, pay attention to them when reversing in or out of your driveway.
Following these simple hints and tips could save a child from serious injury or worse, and they will quickly become a good habit that, hopefully, others will start to emulate.