Cameras and kids' safety near cars

March 23, 2011 3:26:17 PM PDT
A 3-year-old Bridgeview boy died Tuesday when he was struck by a vehicle that was backing out of a driveway.

A rear-mounted camera might have prevented the accident. The federal government is considering making these devices mandatory.

Every year, almost 2,500 children between the ages of 1 and 14 are taken to emergency rooms with injuries sustained from vehicles backing up.

At a congressional hearing Wednesday in Washington, D.C., it was pointed out that 300 children die each year from back-up accidents

"In our cars, the back ends are up so much higher, you can't a see a 2-year-old child walking behind your car," said Jessica Choi of Safe Kids Chicago.

The accident Tuesday in Bridgeview happened in the 8100-block of S. Odell Avenue when a relative backed a car over the boy. The boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital

"Our hearts go out to the family affected by this tragedy and the saddest part of this is it is usually a family member," said Choi. "Before anyone gets in their car, do a quick walk around your vehicle look around the car make sure there are no children, or animals hiding around or underneath your car and also teach your children that cars are not toys - they aren't to be played in or around."

Bridgeview Police Sergeant Joe Hoenselaar said it was an unfortunate accident and no criminal charges have been filed.

Patrick Ivison, 16, was a 14-month-old toddler when he was hit by a car in a parking lot. On Wednesday, he attended the congressional hearing in Washington.

"This guy just throws the car in reverse and backs up without any warning," said Ivison. "My mom reaches for me and tries to grab for me but before she can the car hit me and ran me over."

"I was so thankful that he survived that honestly him having a spinal cord injury, it was like, 'OK, I can do this, this we can do,'" said Jennifer Kayler, Patrick's mother.

Safe kids advocates believe that back-up cameras on vehicles are a great tool to help prevent back-over accidents along with eliminating dangerous and deadly blind zones.

Kate Auriemma, 9, is a survivor of a back-up accident. Her mother testified at the hearing.

"It's not about being a good parent or a bad parent - it's about a lack of visibility and the fact that you can't avoid hitting what can't see," said Sue Auriemma, Kate's mother.

"Always have a firm grasp of your small child's hand when you're walking through a parking lot, across a sidewalk, near a driveway, so that they don't dart out in front of traffic or a car that's backing up," said Choi.

Danger can come from any direction, and children should never play in driveways, in parking lots or on sidewalks when vehicles are present.

Parents, caregivers, drivers and kids can all do their part to make sure that children do not share the same space as vehicles.

Parents are encouraged to teach your children that vehicles can be dangerous and always designate a safe spot for children to go when nearby vehicles are about to move.