Father describes shocking moment he realised he’d reversed over his toddler
By Nikki Black
Writer / May 30 2019
Father of four Peter Cockburn was reversing his car into his garage at home when he felt a bump and knew something wasn’t right.
Tragically, he had reversed over and killed his 15-month-old daughter, Georgina.
The accident happened when Mr Cockburn returned from work at a building site in Young, NSW, in April 2011 and reversed his trailer into the garage of their home.
“As soon as I stepped out, I knew what I'd done,” he said. “There was no saving her, we kept trying but there was no saving her.”
The toddler died almost immediately after the tragic accident, leaving her family members devastated, the Daily Mail reports.
Mr Cockburn says he suffered a “double whammy” in both losing his daughter and knowing he was the one that caused the toddler's death.
“You wake up every day and it’s the same thing - you can't deal with it and you can't change it,” he said.
“At the time we had three other beautiful kids who we had to look after, which helps you get out of bed.”
Eight years later, Mr Cockburn has dedicated his life to raising awareness and providing support to families who have been through similar circumstances with a child.
The family set up the Georgina Josephine Foundation, which also works to educate drivers and parents on how to avoid accidents happening.
This year, nine accidents of a similar nature have already occurred. Mr Cockburn supports Fatality-Free Friday on May 31, which aims for "Zero Deaths on Australian Roads for Just One Day".
“We made a promise to Georgy we would do our best to prevent it from happening to anybody,” Mr Cockburn said.
“It keeps her alive for us, we don't forget about her, the whole family helps with these events, and the kids. We treat it as spending time with Georgy even though we can't physically be with her.”
The foundation encourages parents to create a safer environment in their carports and garages, by building a fence along the driveway, putting up barriers at the entrance or getting a self-closing door to the house.
Installing a reversing camera and using mirrors in conjunction with that is another way to reduce fatalities, Mr Cockburn said.
Being aware while driving, avoiding speeding and not drink driving are also vital.
“The risk we take at the moment is getting caught by the police, but the biggest risk is to the innocent people [around you], who are most likely going to be your loved ones,” he said.
“The biggest risk is having to live with what you've done.”