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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Urges Safety in Driveways

Results of Driveway Injury Study Released in the Journal Pediatrics

A study conducted at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh shows that young children, especially those less than 2 years old, are often severely injured in driveway-related crashes. Most often, these crashes involve a light truck or sport-utility vehicle (SUV) moving in reverse. The results of the study will be published in the August issue of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study was led by Henri R. Ford, MD, chief of pediatric surgery and director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Center at Children’s Hospital, the only Level 1 Pediatric Regional Resource Trauma Center in western Pennsylvania.

Researchers examined the cases of 64 children who were admitted to Children’s Hospital with driveway-related injuries during the past 13 years. They studied two groups of children: those struck by a vehicle driven by an adult who was unaware of the child’s presence in the driveway and those injured when they or another child shifted a vehicle out of gear. The average injured child was less than 4 years old.

The first group accounted for nearly 70 percent of the cases and involved smaller children—an average of 2 years old and an average weight of about 26 pounds. In 18 percent of these accidents, the children died or required rehabilitation, in many instances because of head injuries. No children in the second group died or required rehabilitation. In about 65 percent of collisions with an adult at the wheel, a light truck or SUV was moving in reverse. Such vehicles were involved in more than half of all the cases studied and 63 percent of those from the last five years.

To reduce driveway-related injuries, Dr. Ford said adult drivers should be aware that children often play in driveways and must be sure to account for their presence. In addition, adults should keep vehicle doors and windows locked to keep children from entering an unoccupied vehicle and shifting it into gear. This precaution also can keep children from locking themselves in a vehicle during the summer and suffocating.

Finally, Dr. Ford suggested that automobile manufacturers equip SUVs and trucks with additional safety features, such as extended side mirrors to help drivers see small children.

“We had several instances in which a relative ran over a child, leading to the child’s death,” said Dr. Ford. “It is an emotional and stressful situation. This is our attempt to look at the problem and hopefully heighten people’s awareness of it.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to interview Dr. Ford or a family whose child was injured in a driveway-related accident, please call 412-692-5016.

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008