Circle of Safety Warning on Tablet Screen
Home Unsubstantiated ‘Circle of Safety’ – Child Stuck in Wheel Well Photograph

‘Circle of Safety’ – Child Stuck in Wheel Well Photograph

by Brett M. Christensen


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 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


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 years.

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.

But, regardless of the picture’s origins, the advice to do a quick check around your vehicle before departing is worth heeding.

Research by Shevaun Fitzpatrick, David White, Brett Christensen  

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,