Christmas Eve was anything but merry for one Oak Park family after a mother backed over her one year old child, killing her. All too often a fatal pedestrian accident involve children. Parents need to be especially vigilant to keep their little ones out of harm’s way.
Just after 10:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve, the Oak Park Police Department got a call from a distraught mother. She had accidentally backed her car over her one year old daughter. Oak Park City Manager Erik Tungate told the Detroit Free Press:
“We had an officer on the scene within three minutes, and the officer immediately transported the child to the hospital. . . . It’s tragic — very, very sad.”
The child was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where she was pronounced dead.
The mother cannot explain how the fatal pedestrian accident happened. She told police she was outside with her four children. Luckily, none of the other children were hurt.
To prevent accidents like this, lawmakers are phasing in mandatory back-up cameras and warning sensors, which will alert a driver if anything, or anyone, is in their path. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put out a rule in 2014, which would require increased safety measures over the next few years. The first wave of mandatory back-up cameras will go out later this year on May 1, 2016. By 2018, all new cars we be equipped with the devices.
That won’t help the millions of families who drive older model cars, or the pedestrians they may hit. In 2014, there were 158 fatal pedestrian accidents in Michigan alone. The majority of these crashes involved the elderly or children.
Kids end up in the roadway for a number of reasons. They may be walking to school, chasing a ball into the street, or just playing with their friends. Without proper street-safety education, they are putting themselves at risk.
To fight this, the NHTSA has put together a Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The lesson plans can be used in schools to teach children the safe way to deal with roads, cars, and traffic.
What about when children are younger? No curriculum will help a one year old make the right decision around a car. At that age, it is up to the parents to prevent pedestrian accidents.
Children should never be left outdoors unsupervised, especially near roads or cars. Parents should designate safe zones, like on the porch or front lawn, where children should stay whenever a car is moving nearby. In larger families, parents should enlist the help of older siblings to keep babies in hand and out of danger. Safety needs to be the top priority for parents and children alike.
David Christensen is a pedestrian accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the families of accident victims against insurance companies to get their medical expenses paid for. If your family member has been hit by a vehicle, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.