Driveway injury prevention

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Driveway run overs: It only takes a minute

Key facts about driveway accidents

  • children injured in driveway accidents often suffer severe and sometimes fatal injuries - frequently to the head, chest and lower limbs
  • most children are injured on their own home driveway
  • the greatest risk is to children under the age of 5 years
  • sadly it is most commonly the child’s own parent who is driving the vehicle when a child is hit
  • in many cases, the driver said they saw the child in a safe place before the accident
  • driveway accidents are more common in summer, between December and February, when children are more likely to be playing outside
  • most driveway accidents happen in the afternoon between 4pm and 7pm or in the morning between 10am and 12pm
  • the occurrence of these tragic accidents has not changed significantly over the past 15 years but the good news is these deaths and injuries are preventable

Key safety messages in preventing driveway injuries

  • Check where the kids are: there's no going backCHECK for children before driving off
  • SUPERVISE children around vehicles - always
  • SEPARATE play areas from driveways

Checklist for keeping kids safe around driveways

  • when you leave the house, shut the door securely so that children cannot run outside after you
  • before driving off, make sure you know where all children are – check, check and check again
  • if you’re on your own and need to move a vehicle, it’s safer to get the children to ride in the car with you
  • remember most accidents happen when cars are reversing – be very sure to check your vehicle’s ‘blind spots’ whenever you are reversing
  • hold children firmly by the hand whenever a vehicle is being moved
  • if your driveway borders a play area, fence it

Parents be careful!

Tragically in more than a third of cases it is the child’s own parent who is driving the vehicle involved. Our children are more likely to be run over in the driveway by their own mum or dad than anyone else. Other drivers who feature in the statistics include relatives, friends and neighbours and commercial drivers.

What type of vehicle?

Large vehicles such as vans, trucks and four wheel drives are over-represented in driveway accidents. Drivers of these types of vehicles need to be especially careful. Better still, think driveway safety when buying your next vehicle – choose a model with better visibility.

Download and print a leaflet with key safety messages

The following leaflets (in English, MaoriSamoan and Tongan) have been produced by Safekids, ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) and Plunket. They tell a parent's story of a driveway accident and promote the key safety messages:
  • CHECK for children before driving off
  • SUPERVISE children around vehicles - always
  • SEPARATE play areas from driveways
Preventing driveway injuries leaflet in English
Preventing driveway injuries leaflet in Maori
Preventing driveway injuries leaflet in Samoan
Preventing driveway injuries leaflet in Tongan


Thumbnail of 'Preventing driveway injuries' brochureOur thanks to Safekids Aotearoa for permission to reproduce this information, including the video.

Other references:

Barfoot and Thompson. Keeping our kids safe as houses: Preventing driveway injuries.

Murphy, F., S. White and P. Morreau. 2002. Driveway-related motor vehicle injuries in the paediatric population: A preventable tragedy. The New Zealand Medical Journal. 115(1160): U148.

Safekids. 2002. Home driveway injuries and fatalities in the Auckland region. [Accessed 29/08/2014]

Statistics in this fact sheet are based on the results of the study by Murphy, White and Morreau listed above. This was a study of all children aged 14 years and under who were admitted to Starship Hospital or died from injuries sustained on home driveways in the Auckland region between January 1998 and October 2001.


This page last reviewed 07 September 2012
© Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 – 2014
Printed on 31 August 2014. Content is regularly updated so please refer to for the most up-to-date version
Content endorsed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand