A 17-month-old boy was fatally injured yesterday when his aunt’s sport utility vehicle backed into him in the driveway of their Makaha home, the third such death on Oahu since December.
"It appears the baby followed the aunt out of the house when she went to the vehicle, but we’re still investigating how the baby got out of the house," police Lt. David Nilsen said.
Nilsen said a Toyota Highlander was reversing when it hit the child at about 7:45 a.m. yesterday at the home on Kepue Street.
The boy was taken to a hospital in critical condition, and pronounced dead at 9:46 a.m. The Medical Examiner’s Office did not immediately disclose his name.
The child and the 49-year-old driver both lived at the house, Nilsen said.
"I understand (the driver) took some time to warm up the vehicle and apparently looked prior," Nilsen said.
Harry Josiah, who lives across the street, said he woke up "to a bunch of screaming" from outside.
Josiah said he saw blood on the ground and the mother holding the child, who was limp in her arms. "I give my prayers out to the family," he said.
On Aug. 31 in Waialua, a pickup truck reversing in a driveway fatally injured 19-month-old Tayzah Kekumu.
On Dec. 16, 1-year-old Ezekiel Estocado died after he was hit by a sport utility vehicle backing out of a driveway in Kahaluu.
Janette E. Fennell, founder and president of the Kansas-based nonprofit Kids and Cars, said most children run over by a reversing vehicle are between 12 and 23 months old.
"They’re old enough to get around, they’re walking, but yet they don’t have the cognitive ability to understand that they’re putting themselves in danger," Fennell said.
At least 50 children are hit by a car backing up every week in the United States, 48 of whom are hospitalized, Fennell said. About two of those result in deaths, she said.
Nilsen advised drivers, "You just need to take extra precaution and clear those blind areas."