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'Circle of Safety' - Child Stuck in Wheel Well Photograph

Outline
Circulating messages urge drivers to perform a "circle of safety" inspection by walking around their vehicles before driving away and use a picture of a small crying child apparently stuck in a vehicle's wheel well as a means of illustrating the potential danger.



Brief Analysis
Performing such a circle of safety is probably a wise and worthwhile precaution. However, the origin of the photograph used in the messages and the circumstances in which it was taken remain unclear. The same image has been used in a number of such safety messages, none of which identify exactly where or when the incident occurred. The image has also circulated in an entirely unrelated message that claimed that the picture depicted a case of child abuse.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: September 3, 2012
First published: September 3, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Shevaun Fitzpatrick, David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example

A crew working for a Utility Company found this child while conducting a CIRCLE OF SAFETY of the company truck that the crew members were driving.

It is hard to imagine what would have happened if the employee had jumped in the truck and driven off without doing a walk around inspection. Please share this eye opening, bone chilling photo and experience with your co-workers and family members.
This same work crew has also reported children climbing into the back of company vehicles. Keep in mind children will be out of school on summer break soon so keep a watch out for them.
Follow this client of ours policy of walking around your vehicle prior to operating it. Hopefully you will never experience this situation, but if you do, you just saved a child’s life.
Remember – Not only on the job, but off the job as well…

Circle of Safety





Detailed Analysis
Several variations of the above message are currently circulating via social media posts and email. The messages advise drivers to conduct a "circle of safety" inspection of their vehicles before driving away. To illustrate the potential danger of not performing such an inspection, the messages feature a photograph of a small child apparently stuck in the wheel well of a vehicle. The messages, some of which are formatted as official safety bulletins sent out to company staff, claim that the photograph was taken by the crew of a utility company when they inspected their truck before departing.

The advice to perform a cicle of safety inspection before driving off is sound and could certainly avert potential dangers to people, pets or property. However, the origin of the photograph used in the safety messages remains unclear. None of the safety messages I have so far examined include details of where or when the photograph was taken or why the child was in the wheel well to begin with. Moreover, the same photograph has also circulated in a different context in which it was claimed that the pictured child was a victim of child abuse. In fact, the same picture has been circulating in various contexts for several months.

The vehicle in the picture seems lower and of a different appearance than one would expect for a typical utility crew truck. And, if the child was really discovered by members of a utility crew, it seems rather doubtful that they would stop to snap photos before extracting him or her from such a predicament. Without further information, it is difficult to draw any concrete conclusions regarding the circumstances in which the photograph was taken. It is possible that the child was simply playing around and became stuck in the wheel well while his or her parents or guardians were present and he or she was never in any actual danger. It is also possible that the child was not stuck at all, but simply decided to hide in the wheel well after becoming upset over an unrelated incident.

I am continuing to research the origin of the photograph and will update this article should more information come to light.

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Last updated: September 3, 2012
First published: September 3, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by Shevaun Fitzpatrick, David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer