Too many fatal accidents involving children

The number of accidents is worrying Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health.

Children at the Hadar school in Negev 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Children at the Hadar school in Negev 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The number of accidents – mostly in the Arab-Israeli population but also among Jews – from children falling from high places or being run over by vehicles moving in reverse – is worrying Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health.
Recently, a baby girl from Tira in the Galilee Triangle was run over by a family member outside their home.
Beterem director-general Orly Silbinger said on Wednesday that drivers have to constantly be aware of the blind spot around their vehicles that cannot be seen in the rearview and side mirrors or even with the naked eye.
Usually the victims are aged five and under who cannot be seen because of their height. In 2012, six children were run over and killed by cars that backed up near their homes.
Children have been hurt because a parent or other close relative left the house and the child followed. The driver had been unaware that the child had left the house because there was no barrier that prevented him reaching the vehicle. The driver backed up, and if he didn’t have a sensor that identifies people or objects in the way, he runs them over.
According to Beterem, 16 percent of children under the age of 14 who are hurt in road accidents are run over in Arab settlements when the driver goes into reverse; this compares to 6% of children the same age in mixed Jewish- Arab towns and cities.
In Arab areas, driveways are often part of of courtyards where children play.
This kind of accident is more common in villages than in cities, the NGO said.
Beterem recommends that residents of areas where such accidents are common fence in gardens and courtyards to prevent children from reaching the parking space. Children should not be allowed to play in the parking area, which should be at a distance from the area where children play. Youngsters should be taught never to spend time in areas used for parking, it said.
It added that parents should supervise young children and know where they are at all times. When a driver wants to exit the parking lot, call another adult to make sure that all the children are in a safe place.
Young children should be held. Sensors to alert drivers to obstacles should be installed in every vehicle.
Falling from high places occurs in Arab as well as Jewish areas, said Silbinger, referring to a recent case of a boy in Modi’in who fell from a window. In 2012, five children died from such falls, while in the past five years, 29 children met their deaths in this way.
Such accidents can be prevented easily by installing vertical bars on windows or preventing windows from opening up to the point that a child can climb and fall through. The maximum opening should be just 10 centimeters. There are now laws requiring the installing of metal bars on windows in homes to prevent falling, she added.
Screens prevent insects from entering, but they are not strong enough to prevent falls, said Beterem.
Keep furniture such as beds, chairs and chests of drawers so children don’t climb on them to reach the window.
Never let children play on windowsills or on stairs or on the roof even with rails unless they are continuously supervised by an adult.