Fatal accidents: drivers urged to take care when reversing


If a vehicle reverses into an infant or toddler they can sustain anything from minor to life threatening injuries.

ER24 is pleading with motorists to be cautious when reversing a vehicle.

Always check behind your vehicle before reversing. If you have small children in the vicinity, do not drive the vehicle unless you can see them and they are in a safe place.
ER24 paramedics recently attended to a one year old baby who was critically injured when a vehicle collided with him.

It is understood the child might have been behind a vehicle when it reversed. Unfortunately the child died.

There have been a number of incidents involving motorists reversing into children over the past few weeks.

Cameron Horner, an ER24 South Metropole paramedic, said, “There have been quite a few incidents like these in recent weeks, three of which I attended. All incidents involved toddlers. One incident I attended to involved a girl between 18 months and two years old.

“She sustained minor injuries. Another incident involved an 18 month old boy who sustained a femur fracture,” he said.

Unfortunately there was nothing paramedics could do in the third incident he attended.

“Make sure children are out of harm’s way. Put them in the vehicle first or make sure someone is holding them a safe distance away from a moving vehicle. If you are in an area where you know there are children around, make sure you look around before reversing your vehicle,” said Horner.

Dr Vernon Wessels, from ER24, said injuries to an infant or toddler can vary from slight bruising to severe soft tissue injuries, fractures and internal organ injuries.

Liver ruptures, pelvis fractures and head injuries are some of the life threatening injuries they can sustain.

“Injuries can lead to loss of blood, inability to breathe effectively and loss of life. Non-life threatening injuries can lead to loss of function of the affected part - often permanently, amputation of injured limbs and potential infection after the injury which could in turn lead to various complications including threat to life,” said Dr Wessels.

Older children tend to be able to defend themselves better and in the scenario of a reversing vehicle will often be able to move out of the way sufficiently to only sustain limb injuries.

“However where this does not happen, the injuries will be similar to those of a toddler.

“Adults also try to defend themselves from the impact and therefore injuries are often limited to a single limb or area of the body. However, this can still be serious or even fatal and is not an uncommon cause of fatality in industrial and mining environments where vehicle operators have limited view due to the size of their vehicles,” said Dr Wessels.

If you do find yourself in an incident where someone has been reversed into:

•      First ensure safety of the rescuer. The vehicle needs to be switched off and prevented from further movement.
•      Try not to move the injured person unnecessarily as this may cause further injury. However, if the person is in danger or unable to breathe, sufficient movement to remove the person from danger or to open the airway should be done as carefully as possible.
•      Control visible bleeding by direct pressure on the wound with a clean dressing or piece of cloth.
•      Do not give the person anything to drink until professional medical help has arrived.

ER24’s Emergency Contact Centre can be reached 24 hours a day on 084 124.

Chitra Bodasing
ER24 spokesperson

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