According to Kids and Cars, a child safety advocacy organization, the number of children killed by having a car back over them has nearly tripled since 1999, from 66 fatalities to 165 in 2004 (and 83 in the first half of 2005). That's up from a little more than one per week to more than three per week. The cause of the spike? Well, they say, it's probably all those SUV's with their giant blindspots.
While K&C has a long page of links to rearview cameras, back-up sensors, and other peace-of-mind-in-a-box-style products, the only two surefire ways to keep a kid from getting run over by you or your carpool are 1) take a visual inventory of all the kids, whether in the car or on the porch, before you back up, and 2) keep them the hell away from Autralia.
Sure, Australia's backing-over-kids epidemic is in the news now because some rugby star just ran over his kid. But check out this stat from Kidsafe, the Kids and Cars equivalent in Australia: "Tragically one child, often a toddler, is run over in the driveway of its own home every week in Australia." One a week. vs Three a week in the US. And our population is only what, 15x bigger (295 mm vs 20 mm)? Given that the number of cars per capita is roughly the same (about 66 cars/100), that means Autralians are backing over their kids at a per capita rate 5x greater than Americans.
Given the handbasketride this country's going on these days, I say we deserve a little pat on the back. Congratulations, America.