Driveway-related motor vehicle injuries in the paediatric population: a preventable tragedy

N Z Med J. 2002 Aug 23;115(1160):U148.


Aim: To describe the incidence and demographics of children injured by slow-moving vehicles in Auckland driveways in order to develop preventative strategies.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all children less than 15 years, 76 in total, who were injured by a vehicle in a driveway within Auckland between January 1998 and October 2001. Patient demographics and risk factors were identified by clinical note review, contacting the parents, and inspecting the driveways involved.

Results: These injuries occur most commonly in children less than 4 years old (86%), usually boys (58%), who are reversed over by a relative (68%) at the home driveway (71%). There were six deaths within the study period. Head and thoracic injuries predominated and were typically associated with lower limb injuries. Maori and Pacific Island children represented 74% of all the cases. Nineteen drivers saw the child immediately prior to reversal in a presumed safe position. None of the driveways had any fencing to separate the driveway from rest of the property.

Conclusions: A combination of targeted public health messages to increase awareness, safer driveway design and the fencing of domestic rental properties will prevent these injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control