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Children’s response to a commercial back-up warning device
  1. R E Sapien,
  2. J Widman Roux,
  3. L Fullerton-Gleason
  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Science Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Robert E Sapien, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of New Mexico Health Science Center, ACC 4th Floor West, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA;


Objective: To determine preschool children’s response to a commercial back-up warning alarm in a mock setting of an automobile backing up.

Setting: Preschool parking lot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Methods: With subjects acting as their own controls, 33 preschoolers were asked to walk behind a stationary vehicle twice. The first time, the control, no warning sound was emitted from the vehicle. The second time, the vehicle was placed in reverse gear triggering an alarm. Children’s responses were recorded by a hidden video camera. Avoidance behavior by the child was considered a positive response. Location and distance to where the response occurred was measured.

Results: Thirty three children, 38–61 months, were studied. None responded to the alarm with avoidance behavior but 18 looked toward the vehicle or hesitated in their gait.

Conclusion: Although over half of the children acknowledged the warning alarm, the device did not elicit avoidance behavior. Mere acknowledgment of the warning device would not prevent injury.

  • non-traffic pedestrian injuries
  • driveway crush injuries
  • pediatric pedestrian

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