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Kids And SUVs: Preventing Accidents

Putting SUVs in reverse can have an unintended deadly consequence for parents these days.

Because they are not able to see clearly behind them, SUV drivers can easily hit objects - or people- when they back up. This year alone, 53 children nationwide have died while standing behind these vehicles.

No federal or state agency is collecting information related to deaths and injuries that occur in this manner, usually non-traffic incidents on private property. But Kids 'N Cars, a nonprofit group advocating education and prevention of kids being killed in or near cars, maintains a national data base tracking deaths and injuries to children who are left unattended in or around motor vehicles.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 21, 2002, there have been 349 backing-up incidents involving children, with 469 victims and 104 deaths. Over the past decade, 31.1 percent of auto deaths of children resulted from a car being backed over a child, said Janette Fennell, co-founder of the organization.

Specifically, at least 53 children have died and 28 have been seriously injured so far this year by a car running over them. In contrast, 41 children died that way last year. In half of those cases, the driver was a parent or other relative and in 70 percent of those cases, the vehicle was an SUV.

The following are some tips Fennel offered on The Early Show to prevent needless accidents.

  • Walk around car before moving
  • Consider cross view mirrors or back-up detection
  • Teach your children never to play in, around or behind car
  • Keep toys off driveways
  • Never leave children alone in or around car
  • Keep vehicles locked
  • Keep keys out of the reach of children
  • Always make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked

Some devices to consider are:

Kid-View sells basic kits, including cameras and motion detetcors, to secure cars, doors, windows and swimming pool fences. Some products are:

  • ROSS (Rear Optical Sensing System) manufactured by Rostra Precision Controls Inc.
  • Guardian Alert by Sense Technologies.
  • Micro 3 Bak-Talk by American Dealer Services.
  • In the past 12 months, parents have been demanding -and car companies have been providing - back-up sensors to warn of dangers.