Our award-winning driveway safety programme focuses on separating child play areas from driveways in properties where there are young children under the age of 5.

What we are doing:

We've inspected thousands of our homes and made safety improvements, and will keep doing so – especially at properties where there are children aged under 5.

Helping our tenants and their families stay safe is a big part of what we do as the country’s largest landlord.

Depending on the type of property, we are installing:

  • pool fencing and self-closing gates with child-resistant latches to separate driveways from children’s play areas at our stand-alone properties
  • speed humps, speed restriction signs and convex mirrors at our complexes as needed.

While we are prioritising properties where children live, our goal is to inspect all of our homes around New Zealand and make any necessary safety improvements.

Across New Zealand, we’ve made improvements to more than 20,000 properties (as at July 2020).

Our design guidelines consider driveway safety

We have design guidelines to ensure driveway safety is taken care of when we build homes. These guidelines include:

  • providing a fenced play area for children that is separated from the driveway
  • locating play areas so they are visible and directly accessible from the main living areas
  • building driveways with good sight lines and clear visibility
  • providing safer pedestrian access to properties, separate to driveways, where possible.

A high rate of injury

New Zealand has one of the highest recorded incidences of child driveway death and injury in the world. According to Safekids Aotearoa(external link) – the injury prevention service of Auckland’s Starship Hospital – a child is hospitalised every two weeks after being run over in a private driveway and five children die on average each year from these injuries.

Most children injured in driveway incidents are toddlers, aged about 2, and their injuries are often severe. Most of these injuries come from children being run over by relatives.

Kāinga Ora properties are over-represented in driveway run-over incidents. We are working in partnership with Safekids Aotearoa to raise awareness of this issue.

Property design is one factor

Safekids Aotearoa(external link) and the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee(external link) identify 3 main reasons why children are run over in driveways:

  • human behaviour – most adults in New Zealand are unaware of the risks
  • vehicle design – particularly lack of visibility from within vehicles, when entering and leaving driveways
  • property design – particularly where driveways are not separated from play areas, extra-long or shared driveways, driveways with multiple parking spaces, driveways that exit into quiet streets or common areas shared with vehicles where children might play.

Educating people about driveway safety

To help Safekids Aotearoa raise awareness of the risk on our driveways, our Housing Support Managers provide tenants with driveway safety advice when they move into our homes.

We also include driveway safety information in our tenant newsletters and apply Safekids Aotearoa warning stickers to our front doors when doing property inspections.

Our driveways will be safer places if we all remember these key things from Safekids Aotearoa: 

  • know where your children are before getting in the car
  • check for children before driving off
  • supervise children around vehicles – always
  • separate play areas from driveways.

Our guide to driveway safety for property owners

In partnership with Safekids Aotearoa, New Zealand Transport Agency, New Zealand Police and Roadsafe Nelson Bays, Kāinga Ora has developed:

These guides provides property owners with general guidance on making driveways at their properties safer, to reduce to risk of young children being run over.

Page updated: 5 July 2023