Child Car Seats

RoSPA Brand Logo

Children In and Around Cars

Children around cars

Not all car crashes involving children occur on the road. RoSPA research shows that at least 34 children have been killed on, or near, the driveways of their home since 2001.

Tragically, in most of these cases, an adult member of the child's family, a neighbour or a visitor to the house was driving the vehicle.

  • Most of the deaths occurred when a child was hit by a reversing vehicle
  • In some cases, the vehicle rolled back after the handbrake was accidentally released
  • Most of the victims were toddlers aged between one and two; the rest were three to seven years old.

It is also important to remember that cars are not a safe place for children to play. Children should never be left alone inside a vehicle, even when the engine is switched off. Electric windows, choking and fire hazards in cars have all proved fatal to small children. A high proportion (63 per cent) of parents surveyed sometimes left children inside the car while they made a quick call to somewhere like a shop or school.

As every parent knows, young children can easily escape your supervision for a short time and get into difficulties before you even realise they have moved. It's a good idea to educate children so that they know not to play in or around parked cars.

Advice for drivers

  • Where possible, reverse onto a driveway and drive off forwards. This increases visibility and reduces the time in which a young child can get near the car without you realising.
  • Make sure children aren't behind the car before you start it. Check around the vehicle: use the mirrors, look over your shoulder and get out if necessary. If possible, ask another adult to guide you.
  • Turn off your radio and wind your windows down so you can listen as well as look out for children.
  • All drivers need to be aware of their vehicle's blind zones, it is impossible to see all around your vehicle from inside - even with extended wing mirrors. Larger vehicles, such as 4x4's or vans, may have larger blind zones.

Park in Gear

When parking on a slope, always park in gear and turn the wheel so that if the car moved, it would be stopped by the kerb or something similar.

  • Parked facing uphill – use a forward gear and turn the steering wheel away from the kerb
  • Parked facing downhill – use a reverse gear and turn the steering wheel towards the kerb
  • Always take the keys out of the ignition when you leave your vehicle, and lock it when parked.

Advice for parents/carers

  • Talk to your children about safety in and around cars on the drive, children may assume that parents will always see them when driving.
  • Discourage children from playing, hide and seek for example, in and around parked cars.
  • Keep car keys out of sight and reach of young children.
  • Double check you know where the children are when a vehicle is manoeuvring on or near the drive. In several cases parents had thought their child was in the house when they were actually on the drive or that of their neighbours.

More information is available at: