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Waikato students to study child driveway accidents

Waikato University students to study child driveway accidents

Driveway accidents which kill or injure small children are to be studied by Waikato University sociology students in an attempt to help cut the toll.

The study by graduate students will be funded by a Child Accident Prevention Foundation of New Zealand Summer Research Scholarship. It’s the seventh year in a row that Waikato University students in the department of sociology and social policy (from this year the department of societies and cultures) have won the scholarship.

Previous research has led to recommendations aimed at reducing deaths and serious injuries to children when they are hit by vehicles in the driveways of their homes. But deaths and injuries sadly continue to occur.

So the Waikato University student researchers – Natalie Cowley, Mark Nicholls and Helen Parkinson – will focus on determining to what extent previous recommendations have worked, their relevance to the families and situations in which such accidents occur and what, if any, particular family situations and circumstances experience high levels of such accidents. They intend to produce further research-based recommendations which take account of the reasons for previous recommendations not working.

Experts on child safety topics and caregivers in various family circumstances will be interviewed for a first-hand understanding of the realities of the situations in which some children are injured or killed. The students’ research is being supervised by associate professor David Swain. “We’d be glad to hear from parents and other caregivers who are willing to discuss their perspective on driveway accidents involving young children,” says Dr Swain.

The student researchers are also studying the academic literature on the topic and searching online resources to discover successful prevention measures in other countries. They expect to report on their research and further recommendations for reducing such accidents by March this year.

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