Safekids Logo

1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
July 16, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Five-Second Walk Could Save A Child's Life

Backover injuries an increasing problem for children

Almost 2,500 children per year ages 1-14 reported to emergency rooms with non-fatal motor vehicle backover injuries in the United States from 2001-2003. Lack of visibility behind vehicles is responsible for an increasing number of fatalities. For the 5-year period of 1997-2001, at least 138 children were killed because they were backed over. In the most recent five-year period, 2002-2006, at least 474 were killed in backovers – a 243 percent increase.

“Ten percent of deaths to children involving motor vehicles don’t happen on public roads,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas Coordinator. “Many of these preventable injuries and deaths occur at home, in driveways or parking lots when drivers, many of whom are loving family members, fail to see children near their vehicles. Often, a five-second walk around your car before you get in could save a child’s life.”

Safe Kids Kansas offers these additional tips to help keep children safer around cars.

  • Caregivers are urged to firmly hold the hand of children when near vehicles.
  • Drivers are cautioned to look for children, even if they do not have children of their own. That means adults in parking lots and driveways where children could be playing nearby should do an additional safety check.
  • Drivers should walk all the way around a parked vehicle to check for kids, toys and pets before entering the car and starting the motor.
  • To help the driver detect an object or person behind a vehicle, consider installing devices such as rear sensors, cameras, special mirrors or lenses.
  • Teach children that parked vehicles might move. Let them know that even though they can see the vehicle, the driver might not see them.
  • Teach your children to never play in, around or behind any vehicle.
  • Set the emergency brake every time you park.

Safe Kids events held around the state this summer will include “Spot the Tot,” a new program to combat injuries caused around vehicles each year. As part of “Spot the Tot,” parents and drivers will participate in activities to show some of the dangers children face in driveways and parking lots. Additional activities will educate parents and drivers on other non-traffic related risks, including children being left alone in cars and trunk entrapment.

For more information about motor vehicle back over injuries, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information visit