BURRILLVILLE – With warmer temperatures and nicer weather upon us now that spring has finally arrived, we need to be very careful when it comes to kid free zones around vehicles parked in garages and driveways.
Don’t take for granted that when you get into your vehicle it is completely safe to put it in gear and drive away. Kids are everywhere when the weather changes for the better and you have no idea if a child is behind your vehicle, on the passenger side of your vehicle, or even under your vehicle, unless you check first. It only takes a few moments and could save a young life. If you have younger children living in your home, or live in a neighborhood with young children playing outside, then taking a few moments to check for a child in a kid free zone can make a big difference for safety.
I know first hand what can happen when a child is unseen behind a vehicle. I witnessed a driver attempting to back out of their driveway one warm summer afternoon and I noticed a child around the age of two years old sitting on a small bike directly behind that vehicle. I immediately punched through two panes of glass windows with my fist, shattering the windows up to my elbow, while yelling at the driver; “Stop!” The vehicle was only a few inches away from running over that child. The driver hit her brake pedal, put the vehicle in park and exited the vehicle to see the little girl sitting on the small bike directly behind her car. If I didn’t react like I did, the situation would have been devastating to everyone involved.
I created this coloring cartoon for Hasbro Children’s Hospital at their request for educational handout purposes. Take the time to print out this Kid Free Zone Coloring Cartoon and talk to your kids about playing around vehicles. It’s not safe. And take the time to check around your own vehicles to make sure a child is nowhere near you when you drive away.
Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children. He has a long list of police officers and firefighters in his family and has worked with law enforcement and firefighters in a creative public safety capacity for more than two decades.