LUBBOCK, Texas – On Thursday, one-year-old Ezekiel Olivarez was killed in Lubbock after a car backing out of a residence in his neighborhood hit him.
In the United States, 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week because a driver couldn’t see them.
Kids and Car Safety Director Amber Rollins said they are on a mission to prevent this from happening.
“Alot of these tragedies take place at home and children aged five and under are at the highest risk because of their size,” Rollins said. “They don’t really have the cognitive ability yet to understand danger and understand that even though they can see the car, the car can’t see them.”
Every vehicle has blind zones on all four sides even when using car mirrors correctly, 70% of these roll-over accidents happen when a parent or close relative is behind the wheel.
University Medical Center Safe Kids Lubbock Coordinator, Kalli Workman said promoting safety with your children is a priority.
“Talking to those kiddos about hey we are going to establish boundaries in the front of our house. This is a play area and this is a non play area to keep them safe,” Workman said. “Best practice will be telling your children that the driveway is not an area to play in whatsoever.”
Anytime you get into your vehicle heighten your awareness before reversing, especially if children are around.
“Most people know there is a blind zone behind them but very few people know there is a blind zone in front of their vehicle,” Rollins said. “We are now seeing more people run over by a slow forward moving vehicles than we are backwards moving vehicles.”
“Those children are so little, and they can really appear out of nowhere,” Workman said. “So be very alert, staying off the phone, paying attention and being in the moment.”
In conclusion, the message Kids and Car Safety experts have for drivers is, “Before you turn your key, make sure you can see.”