Keeping children safe while backing up your car - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Keeping children safe while backing up your car

By Bryon Graff - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

It could happen in a matter of seconds.

You're backing up your car.. and end up running over a loved one.

Statistics show it happens a lot.

In a special report.. we have tips on what you can do to prevent this kind of accident.

It's so easy to hop in the car.. put it in gear.. and pull out of the driveway. Most people do it everyday.. but every once in a while you hear tragic news that someone backed over a child.

According to the most recent numbers released by the Safe Kids Program at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.. in 2007 there were 99 fatalities of children up to the age of 14.. from vehicle back overs in the United States. 2,000 more children were injured in those types of accidents.

Michelle Armstrong/Safe Kids Coordinator: "It tends to be somebody that the family does know so it makes it even more personal."

To demonstrate how to check for children around your car.. we enlist the help of Wausau Safety Officer Maureen Pilsner.. and Michelle Armstrong from Safe Kids. ( )

Do you find a lot of people are surprised when they realize that they can't see in the blind spot?

Safety Officer Maureen Pilsner/Wausau Police Department: "Everybody seems surprised." ( )

They roll out a measured mat used in the Spot the Tot program.

Pilsner: "It's a mat that demonstrates how far back of the car before you can see the kids playing. A lot of people think well the kids are in the driveway playing and you can see them and it turns out it's a very long distance before you can see them outside windows and mirrors."

For our demonstration we have a 6 year old girl starting moving down the mat. I get in the driver's seat and have to let them know when I can see her.

I didn't see her until she stood up at 20 feet. For practical purposes a driveway can be about 50 feet.

Armstrong: "It's usually around closer to 30 or 40 feet when the tops of their heads do pop up behind a car and that's quite a distance."

They recommend taking just ten seconds to walk around your vehicle, check for kids, toys and bikes.

Pilsner: "If there's children playing, small children, let them know you're backing out or somebody responsible is making sure. Or make sure you can see them. Have them go to a spot and stay."

Checking not only behind the car but in front of it as well.

Pilsner: "It takes a couple seconds of your time beforehand but it's sure worth it in the long run."

As a reminder.. they pass out Spot the Tot stickers. You simply stick them on your window.

Armstrong: "It is a high statistic and it's something that can be prevented and shouldn't be happening."

Safe Kids in Wausau makes the measuring kit available for community functions.

And they'll hand out the stickers as well.

Click here for a link to Safe Kids Wausau Area.

Online Reporter: Bryon Graff

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