Low-speed vehicle run over fatalities in Australian children aged 0–5 years


  • Competing Interests: None declared.

Correspondence: Dr Ruth Barker, Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (QISU), Mater Health Services, Level 1 Whitty Building, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Qld 4101, Australia. Fax: +61 7 3163 1684; email: ruthb@qisu.org.au



The study aims to investigate environmental, socio-demographic and other antecedent risk factors associated with low-speed vehicle run over (LSVRO) mortality in Australian children aged 0–5 years.


This is a population-based retrospective case series study of Australian LSVRO mortality, July 2000–December 2010.

Main Outcome Measures

Mortality and corresponding population data were stratified by sex and period to examine trends in incidence rates over the study period. Proportional mortality was also investigated by sex, age, period, area, location of injury, mechanism and other antecedent factors identified from textual coronial information.


There were 82 fatal LSVRO cases over the 11-year study period. The annual incidence was low (less than 1 per 100 000) and declined over the study period. More than three-quarters of incidents occurred in non-traffic settings, in particular residential driveways. The most common vehicle involved was a four-wheel drive or utility with vehicles most likely to be reversing or leaving at the time of the incident. More than three-quarters of cases were aged 36 months or less. A higher proportion of LSVRO fatalities occurred in lower socio-economic status areas compared with higher socio-economic status areas. Where the vehicle was actively being driven (77 cases), the driver was known to the child in three-quarters of cases, most commonly the father (32%).


The study provides a detailed analysis of mortality due to LSVRO incidents in Australia and highlights a number of modifiable antecedent factors. Precedents for the identification and reporting of LSVRO incidents as well as prevention strategies are discussed.