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The prevalence and characteristics of paediatric driveway accidents in Queensland.

Davey, J, Freeman, J, Dingle, G A, Clark, J, Johnston, T C, Woods, S D, White, J (Peer reviewed)



Objectives: This study was designed to investigate the incidence and characteristics of non-traffic child pedestrian accidents in Queensland to which the Queensland Ambulance Service responded between January 1998 and December 2000.

Method: Both quanitative and qualitative data from abulance report forms were utilised in the analyses. Cases were selected on the basis of child's age (up to 15 years) and the location of the incident (non-traffic areas). The main outcome measures were the child's Glasgow Coma Scale score, respiratory rate and ambulance dispatch code (life-threatening or non life-threatending) recorded on arrival by the paramedics.

Results: In total, 76 driveway incidents out of a total of 1105 paediatric accidents were identified over the three year period. The incidents predominately uinvolved vehicle reversing at low speed out of driveways, often with a parent driving. Four-wheel drive and heavy vehicles were over-represented in the statistics and were associated with more severe injuries to the child. Peak times for the incidents were afternoons and during holiday months, when chldren were more likely to be playing around non-traffic areas. The incidents were also likely to involve males (57%) and 51% involved chldren under the age of four years. In regards to severity, one child was deceased and six were unconscious on arrival of the ambulance.

Conclusion: Non-traffic pedestrian accidents in Queensland remain a considerable risk for children under four years of age. A number of strategies may prove effective at reducing this risk, however greater driver awareness in non-traffic locations and the use of methods to enhance driver visibility when reversing may prove to be important factors in preventing these accidents.