Some children are being hurt and killed in their driveways because it is so difficult to see out the rear of most models of popular cars, an Australian report has claimed.

In New South Wales 17 children have been killed by reversing cars in just over three years and a new report shows that some cars have blind spots as big as 27 square metres.

The study by the National Roads and Motorists’ Association found that the average-sized two-year-old would be invisible to the drivers of most reversing cars.

Even the best of the cars, a Renault Clio Sport, had a rear blind spot of four square metres and drivers had to be two metres away from an object before it was visible from their seat.

The study took six months to complete and tested 86 different models.

The worst vehicles tested were the Toyota Prado [Land Cruiser Colorado] and the Holden Commodore VX sedan. Both had a rear blind spot of 27 square metres. The Commodore had to be 16.8 metres from an object before it was visible from the driver’s seat and the Prado had to be 15.6 metres away.

A spokesman said that the study concluded there was no car type that was inherently better than any other. Four-wheel-drive vehicles had a bad reputation, but other vehicles were just as bad, if not worse.

“The design of many modern vehicles has resulted in significant obstacles to rearward vision. These include high rear windows and boots, rear-mounted spare tyres and rear head restraints,” the spokesman said.

“The clear lesson from this study is that drivers need to be very aware of what is around them. New technology and design features can assist. However, there also needs to be close supervision of children near reversing vehicles.”