The Office of the Child Safety Commissioner, the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) and the Victorian Coalition Government have joined forces with a range of community organisations to launch a new child-safety campaign in Melbourne.
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge today officially launched the new Driveway Safety campaign at the RCH.
Ms Wooldridge said that the campaign message – 'Just because you can't see me, doesn't mean I'm not here' – is designed to remind parents of just how invisible a child can be behind a vehicle.
"Every child is, of course, precious and no parent would ever knowingly place their child at risk," Ms Wooldridge said.
"However, sometimes in a moment of distraction, that's exactly what we can do.
"That's why this campaign is so vital, to remind parents to be extra vigilant when reversing cars near young children."
The campaign will include radio advertisements and the distribution of posters and postcards, as well as use of social media.
It is a collaborative project led by the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner. As well as the Coalition Government and the RCH, other organisations involved in the campaign include Victoria Police, RACV, TAC, VicRoads, Kidsafe and the Municipal Association of Victoria.
Speaking at the launch, Child Safety Commissioner Bernie Geary said that the campaign was designed to raise parents' awareness of the hazards of reversing in their driveways.
"Since 2000, 14 children have died from incidents involving being run over by vehicles in the family driveway in Victoria, and 81 children have presented at the Royal Children's Hospital with very serious long term injuries," Mr Geary said.
"The basic message, especially for parents of children under six, is always make sure you know where your children are before you reverse out of a driveway."
- 92 per cent of the incidents occurred in the driveway of the child's home – the rest occurred in relatives' or friends' driveways;
- Vehicles were driven by a parent, a family member or a friend;
- Most of the children were under the age of six;
- Incidents most often occur between 4-6pm in the evening and in the morning between 8-10am;
- Most of the vehicles involved were 4WDs, vans and utes; and
- 85 per cent of the drivers were unaware a child was near their vehicle.