The mother of the infant stepped out to make sure she was okay after falling out but forgot that the car was in 'drive.'
The Prince William County police department in Virginia responded to an accident that took place on Sunday afternoon, June 12, 2022. The victim was a 10-month-old baby who fell out of a car and was fatally struck by the vehicle, PEOPLE reported.
*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: #PWCPD Crash Investigators investigated a #fatal crash that occurred on Flotilla Way in #Woodbridge on Jun. 12 at approx. 1:15pm. a 10-month-old girl was killed when she fell from a vehicle and was struck. More info; pic.twitter.com/RM5FgmYG2e— Prince William County Police Department (@PWCPolice) June 13, 2022
According to Newsweek, Police say that the 35-year-old mother of the child was driving from Hyattsville, Maryland in a 2013 Toyota Highlander to meet and pick up a few family members in Woodbridge near Flotilla Way and Dyers Mills Ct when the tragedy occurred. She had left the child unrestrained in the back seat of the car while driving a short distance to a dumpster and eventually back to a home near the 16600 block to "pick up additional family members." When one of the relatives opened the backseat door to get in, the unrestrained baby reportedly "fell from the vehicle and onto the roadway."
A baby girl has died after she fell out of the backseat of a car in northern Virginia and was accidentally run over, police say. https://t.co/GjUKAvsnlR— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 15, 2022
Although the mother "immediately" got out of the car and went up to check on the baby, she forgot that the SUV was "still in drive." In a Facebook post addressing the incident, the police said that "the vehicle's transmission was still in drive when the driver exited the vehicle causing it to roll forward where it then struck the child. The child sustained a serious head injury and was transported to the hospital by the mother where police were notified."
The infant succumbed to their injuries later in the day and passed away. The police released a press release detailing exactly what happened during the crash on their Twitter and Facebook pages. The mother has not been charged, officials said, adding that the baby's identity would be concealed because of state law. First Sergeant Jonathan Perok of the Prince William County Police Department told reporters that there is nothing to add as of now. While there has been no further information on the same, police say that the case will remain under investigation.
A similar crash took place on November 14 of last year when an 8-month-old baby fell out of a vehicle and was also fatally run over. In this case, too, the child was unrestrained along with the other children aged six, three and two who were not wearing seatbelts, CBS reported. The infant fell out of the right passenger backseat as the car was turning onto Ranchview Drive from MacArthur Boulevard in Irving, Texas. Another car ran over the baby and kept driving. "We do not believe there was any malicious intent," said Officer Robert Reeves with the Irving Police Department. "We are not calling it a hit-and-run because we don't think the person that ran over the child knows they ran over that child." The police also questioned the other kids who were in the vehicle at the time, asking them if they accidentally opened the door or if it was never closed properly in the first place. The case was considered serious enough to involve the Child Protection Services and the police said that the mother could face a range of charges, including child endangerment.
Texas police are investigating after they say an 8-month-old baby fell out of an open car door and was fatally struck on the road by another vehicle. https://t.co/jvmHxlHk3W— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) November 16, 2021
These cases open discussions on the importance of putting babies in car seats and having children wear seatbelts. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that a 10% improvement in using car seats and seatbelts could prevent 200 children from dying each year. AAP also recommends that parents use rear-facing car seats, front-facing car seats, belt-positioning booster seats, and lap and shoulder seatbelts in transition according to a child's growth. Since the protection for subsequent seat protection decreases, it is advised that parents delay these transitions as much as possible.
Current estimates of child restraint effectiveness indicate that child safety seats reduce the risk of injury by 71% to 82% and reduce the risk of death by 28% when compared with children of similar ages in seat belts. Pediatricians play a big role in making sure children are kept safe and car accidents are prevented as much as possible. It is recommended that they employ an eliminatory technique by spreading awareness amongst parents to keep children safe.