Mum's plan to save lives 

JODIE Carr spent most of last Wednesday in tears. It was just one of many days she has spent like that since her son, Corey-Paul, was run over by a relative about seven years ago.

The curly-haired, blue-eyed toddler died from multiple injuries including cardiac arrest. He was three years old.

Ms Carr, 42, told her doting partner Paul Mallows that there was nothing anyone could do to help her feel better that day.

"I just missed my boy," Ms Carr said.

On Thursday, in her Shellharbour home, Ms Carr awoke to the news that a three-year-old boy in Old Guildford had died in his family's driveway.

She had heard of similar fates many times since Corey-Paul died on May 31, 2006. This time, however, the news has prompted Ms Carr to act on an idea she had been tossing around - to start a foundation in Corey-Paul's memory.

The Corey-Paul Awareness Foundation will highlight the issue of driveway deaths, or low-speed run-over as they are known; provide support for people in the same situation; and hopefully save other young lives.

"I cried when I heard the news about that little boy this morning, because you know what that family is going through," she said.

With the support of Mr Mallows and her daughter Amber, 15, Ms Carr aims to fund-raise, lobby government and seek grants to establish the foundation.

Ideas for its work include creating what Ms Carr hopes will become an instantly-recognisable logo to be placed in cars to remind people to look out for small children; push for laws that would require all new homes to have a fenced driveway; and start support groups for people going through the same thing.

The federal government's Child Pedestrian Safety: 'driveway deaths' and 'low-speed vehicle run-overs' Australia 2001-2010 report states 66 children aged between 0 and 14 were killed in the ten-year period and 483 seriously injured in the eight-year period 2002-2010 by being hit by a four-wheeled motor vehicle around the home. On many occasions the person driving the car was a relative.

While the statistics are heartbreaking and on par with backyard drownings, Ms Carr believes the topic is taboo.

"No one talks about it," she said. "When it happened to me there was no one I could talk to who had been through the same thing, and believe me I tried.

"That's why I am speaking out, to tell people, 'this happens to normal people, it could happen to you but it shouldn't'."

Ms Carr agreed that perhaps part of the reason no one talks about it is the painful fact that a family member is often driving the vehicle.

On the day Corey-Paul died, Ms Carr had left her son with her grandmother - the woman who had raised her from the age of 12.

On arriving home Ms Carr's grandmother stopped to go to the letter box.

When she turned around, her great-grandson had let himself out of the car. She called for him and when he didn't reply, drove forward.

Corey-Paul jumped out from behind the gates and in surprise his great-grandmother hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

If losing her son was not bad enough, Ms Carr said the accident so changed her grandmother that she lost a lot more that day.

"That day, seriously, I lost my best friend, my confidant, the person I could rely on . . . because we are just not the same any more," she said.

"I don't blame my grandmother for what happened. I don't bear her any malice but my grandmother is not the same person.

"She is a shell of the person she used to be, but you can't expect her to be the same."

Ms Carr and Corey-Paul's father, Allister, shielded their other child, Amber, then seven, from as much of their grief as they could.

Amber remembers her brother well and gets annoyed when people at school complain about their siblings.

"She really does mourn for him now," Ms Carr said.

"I think as she gets older she understands a lot more."

In the torturous early days, weeks and months after the accident, Ms Carr contemplated ending the pain - even going so far as getting life insurance.

"I went to write Amber a suicide note to explain why, and I couldn't," she said. "So I didn't.

"I couldn't explain to her why me going to be with her brother was more important than me staying with her."

Ms Carr said she and the children's father had been having relationship problems before the accident. Initially they were united in their mourning but they separated several years later after moving to the Illawarra to escape painful memories.

In the years since an awful and largely preventable accident took her son, Ms Carr said she takes things one day at a time. She imagines what Corey-Paul would look like now but when she dreams of him, he is forever three.

Ms Carr said Christmas is a hard time and so too was the month of May - with Mother's Day, Corey-Paul's birthday and the anniversary of his death.

"I am a write-off in May," she said.

While days like last Wednesday hit from out of the blue and come with tears, Ms Carr also smiles when she thinks of her son, when she recalls his own smile, cheekiness and gentle nature.

"He was a real little boy," she said.

"He was always into mischief. I could not turn my back on him for one minute.

"I often think if I'd have known I was going to only have him for three years, I wouldn't have roused on him, but then I tell myself that it's just life."

For more information, contact Ms Carr on ginchyp@hotmail.com or search for Corey-Paul Awareness Foundation on Facebook.

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