Driveway Dangers: A warning for parents - Tucson News Now

Driveway Dangers: A warning for parents

(Source: KidsAndCars.org) (Source: KidsAndCars.org)

It wasn't easy for Brian and Amanda Bayers to talk about how their 18-month-old son, Jackson, died, but they did for one reason.

You often hear warnings about the dangers of leaving children in hot cars or getting into dangerous chemicals around the house, none of which should be taken lightly. But it is not often you hear about what happened to the Bayers - a split-second accident that can change a family's life forever.

There wasn't a single moment of Jackson's life that Brian and Amanda Bayers missed. They captured every precious moment on camera, from the first time he crawled to him just being his happy self. They felt blessed to be his parents.

"It was instant love, love at first sight," Amanda said.

The Bayerses have been married for 8 1/2 years and knew family was what they wanted from the beginning. But it wasn't easy. They struggled for 3 1/2 years to get pregnant.

"When I found out she was pregnant, I (instantly felt) very nervous about everything," Brian said. "How I was going to provide; if I was going to be a good dad."

All the normal feelings, and a sense of protection when Jackson finally came into their arms on Aug. 1, 2013.

"I felt like we had a whole different responsibility in our life that we had a small child that we had to raise," Brian said.

Their little boy was growing - so was his curiosity - as he managed to get his hands on everything.

"I worried every night. I got home - I carry around change in my pocket - I would get down on my hands and knees. I'd look for dimes, pennies I might have dropped," Brian Bayers said.

But it was what they didn't think of that changed their life.

"You always think, ‘This can't happen to me,' but it can," Brian said.

On Feb. 13, 2015 Brian was getting ready to take Jackson to daycare. He remembered Jackson was a little extra loving that morning and they were both enjoying their time together. It was cold, so Brian figured while Jackson was playing he would go warm up the truck and back it up to the house.

"When I got out of the truck, I hopped out of the truck to run to the back door and hopped up on the stoop and the back door was wide open," Brian said.

He ran into the house calling Jackson's name and couldn't find him.

"I went flying out the back door basically to see him on the driveway, and he had already been hit at that point in time, and I had backed over him," Brian said. "I never saw him at any point in time. Jackson was hit by the front wheels of the vehicle backing up. When the front wheels back around, he essentially walked right into the side of the vehicle."

"I was quite hysterical. My son was killed instantly, and I called 911," he said.

Knowing there was nothing he could do to save Jackson, Brian called Amanda, who rushed home from work.

"I immediately wanted to hold him and held him for hours," Amanda said. "I think I just kissed him and rocked him. We took him back to his room. I just kept saying, ‘Why?'"

The pain and the heartache they have been feeling since that day is indescribable. They miss everything about their sweet boy.

"I miss holding him and hugging him and kissing him - just feeling that love," Amanda said.

"I miss seeing him dance with his mom," Brian said. "I miss lying in bed in the morning and hearing him wake up."

Every minute of every day Brian said he can't help but think of what happened to Jackson. How did he open the door, and what he could have done differently to stop him?

"What if I had a back-up camera on my vehicle? What if I had my window rolled down? I think what if I didn't just pick my child up and carry him with me to my car," Brian said. "I worried about all the little things that could have possibly happened and this was one thing that never crossed my mind."

In the United States, at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week, and the predominant age of victims is one year old, according to KidsAndCars.org.

Kids and Cars is a non-profit child safety organization dedicated to preventing injuries and death to children in and around motor vehicles.

The Bayerses never knew how common back-over and front-over accidents were until Jackson died. They took the brave step to talk about it, knowing Jackson would be proud of them.

"If we can save one child's life by this and prevent one family from the kind of devastation that we have faced, that will be his legacy," Brian said.

"We know that Jackson is in heaven and he's with God," Amanda said.

Brian and Amanda Bayers say their faith has gotten them through this difficult time and they have received so much support from support groups and church. Both of them love children and they are trying to have more.

The Bayerses want to build on Jackson's legacy. They are raising money to build a park in his honor.

Related links

PDF: Back-over Fact Sheet - http://tucsonne.ws/1IQjIou

JPG: Back-over map - http://tucsonne.ws/1PxNxzJ 

PDF: Safety tips - http://tucsonne.ws/1LncYhM

PDF: Blind zone measurements - http://tucsonne.ws/1FxUlXA

PDF: Blind zone chart - http://tucsonne.ws/1HvAwm3

PDF: Visibility chart - http://tucsonne.ws/1FCJNs8

PDF: Front-over map - http://tucsonne.ws/1Sftjd0

(Source: KidsAndCars.org)

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