Kansas City, MO - Every week, at least 110 children are backed over or run over in parking lots and driveways while more than 100 are struck on public roadways nationwide. Here's a scary statistic, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year. The danger is both on the roadway and off.
As a part of the launch of a new program called the ‘Childproof Your Ride Occupant Safety Initiative,’ Kansas City-based nonprofits Charlie’s House and Kids and Car Safety teamed up to help bring awareness to the increased risk for children on Halloween at a press event today at Charlie’s House. The organizations shared safety tips for the public and emphasized a largely unknown danger to children – backovers and frontovers.
At the event, safety advocates revealed how children cannot be seen by the driver in front or behind a vehicle in an eye-opening demonstration. A blindzone exists in front, on the side and behind ALL vehicles. Most drivers are completely unaware that a child could be standing directly in front of their vehicle and not be seen. The front blindzone on a larger truck or SUV can be up to fifteen feet long and the rear blindzone up to fifty feet.
It is critical for awareness to be brought to the front blindzone. If you compare 2008 to 2020, frontover fatalities of children have nearly DOUBLED. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blindzone. The popularity of larger, heavier trucks and SUVs has contributed to a serious increase in frontover fatalities of children. In fact, 73% of vehicle sales last year were trucks and SUVs.
The bottom line is that you cannot avoid hitting what you cannot see. On October 25, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced a federal bill calling for technology in all vehicles to ensure the driver is able to tell when someone is directly in front of the vehicle.
“Sixteen years ago today, my son almost died because a driver pulling forward slowly could not see him. Technology exists that could have prevented the tragedy that changed our family’s lives forever and has taken far too many little lives. I feel blessed every day to have my son, Truman, still with us. The time to act is now. Automakers don’t have to wait for a safety standard to be issued, they can start installing this technology now,” said Debi Oaks, Kids and Car Safety Parent Advocate.
Children age five and under are the most at risk for being run over because a driver cannot see them. Very young children lack impulse control and don’t have the cognitive ability to truly understand danger. They don’t respect boundaries lines like the one between the street and yard. On Halloween, lack of visibility because of low lighting at night plays a factor in these incidents.
“Talk to children about the dangers of vehicles, but never rely on them to protect themselves. Even children who are safety conscious can place themselves in dangerous situations. It only takes one brief moment of distraction for a tragedy to happen,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.
“We are excited to launch the Childproof Your Ride Occupant Safety Initiative on the eve of Halloween with Kids and Cars Safety. Saving children’s lives is the objective of this effort, and combining our networks and resources enables both organizations to make a bigger impact on the delivery of services and programs,” states J. Stuart Hoffman, Executive Director of Charlie’s House.
Charlie’s House and Kids and Cars Safety are joining forces to increase awareness and educate parents and others regarding ways to keep children safe in and around vehicles. The initiative’s focus addresses frontover and backover accidents as well as hot car dangers and ways to escape entrapped or submerged vehicles. Both groups share similar missions to prevent injuries and accidents to children in and around the home and vehicle.
Halloween Safety Tips
If you don’t have to drive, stay home.
If you must drive, be extra cautious and slow, especially in neighborhoods.
Carry glowsticks or flashlights, use reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags, and wear light colors to help kids see and be seen by drivers.
Children under the age of 12 should be directly supervised by an adult at all times.
Teach children to watch out for vehicles that are turning or backing up out of driveways.
Slow down and stay alert!
Always walk, never run while trick-or-treating.
Put down phones. Keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there's no walkway, walk facing traffic and as far left as possible.
Cross the street at corners and always look left, right and left again before crossing.
Costumes should be the right size to prevent trips and falls - choose face paint over masks when possible.
Vehicle Blindzone graphic:
Frontover fact sheet & safety tips:
Backover fact sheet & safety tips:
Press Release: Kids and Car Safety Applauds U.S. Senator Blumenthal for the STOP Frontovers Act, 10.25.22
The STOP Frontovers Act introduced by U.S. Senator Blumenthal last week:
Kids and Car Safety is a national nonprofit dedicated to saving the lives of young children and pets in and around vehicles.
Charlie’s House is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent accidents and injuries to children in and around the home.