Two Kiwi mums whose children were tragically run over on a driveway are fronting a new campaign with child safety organisation Safekids Aotearoa to help prevent more deaths and serious injuries.
On average, five children are killed in New Zealand driveways each year – most are toddlers under the age of two. And every fortnight, a child is admitted to hospital with serious injuries after being run over by a vehicle in their home driveway.
Campaign aims to educate drivers
Valeria Tokoar and Emma Renata are the faces of Safekids Aotearoa’s new awareness initiative Check For Me Before You Turn The Key.
Valeria’s son Tyreese (18 months) was fatally hit by a car in a driveway in Onekawa, Napier, in 2009. She said people need to be aware that children may be behind, beside or in front of cars unseen.
“We want to help educate drivers on the need to always look for children in driveways,” Valeria says.
Renata’s son Te Manawa Whetuki (1 year old) was fatally run over in a driveway in Papatoetoe in 2014. She wants to remind parents how quick and easy a runover can happen, and that it can happen to anyone.
“Being a parent of very young children is a challenge. They are fast, and sometimes it may seem impossible to keep an eye on them all the time. However, knowing this risk is more reason to be vigilant about the supervision of children around cars,” Renata says.
'Check for me before you turn the key'
Ann Weaver, the Director of Safekids Aotearoa, says central to the campaign is the distribution of Check for Me Before Your Turn the Key keyrings across the country.
"Parents can place their child’s photo in the keyring. We hope they remind drivers to walk around the car before getting in the car, and to make sure children are in a safe place and supervised by an adult."
Safekids Aotearoa invites community groups to order the free Check For Me Before You Turn the Key keyrings, and use them as a tool to promote driveway safety with families.
The Safekids driveway safety campaign is supported by ACC, the Starship Foundation, Auckland Council, Housing New Zealand, NZ Post and the Early Childhood Council. Auckland Council contributed $30,000 via its Injury Prevention Team, as well as research from its Safer Driveways Project. It also provided a Māori protocol and venue for the campaign launch.