Keeping Kids Safe - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Keeping Kids Safe

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The tragic death of a Hastings toddler is serving as a reminder for drivers to be more aware of what's around us. The three year old was struck and killed when his uncle tried to park his SUV on March 29.

Each year more than 9,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for injuries that happen while left unattended in or around motor vehicles, according to safekids.org.

As weather gets warmer and kids play outside, there's a lot more for drivers to watch out for.

Toddlers like Madeline Graves move fast and can be unpredictable. Her mother, Jodi Graves also has a third grader who walks to school every day by himself. "Tell him to always watch out for cars because the cars aren't always watching out for him," she said.

The school zones have crossing guards during peak hours, but kids should learn to always be on alert.  "I also think the community needs to continue to emphasize the need of adults to be very conscious about kids any time they are out in the community, whether it is driving a car or riding a bike or whatever," said Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz.

"I think a lot of time people think they have more vision when they are in a car than they really do," explained Sargent Steven Murphy, of Hastings Police Department.

He adds that a vehicle's blind spots depend on the size of the driver and car. "We've had I think three fatality accidents involving very young children here in the city, I think probably in the last two and a half years."

Officials advice taking a minute to make sure there aren't any children around before getting into your vehicle.

"It does fall back to the driver to see those situations and try to anticipate that something unexpected will happen, like a kid jumping out into the street or running out into the street, and be prepared for that type of behavior," said Murphy.

Driving the speed limit, being attentive and scanning often are more safety measures to take so you don't hit an object you didn't see coming.

Before Jackson Graves leaves for school each day his mother reminds him -- "We of course always say we love him and to watch both ways when he crosses the street and thankfully he only has to cross one street without a crossing guard," said Graves.

Officers said both those on the streets and sidewalks need to pay attention to keep everyone safe.

Starting in 2018 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ruled all new cars less than 10,000 pounds will be required to have back up cameras installed.

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