Toddler killed by car sparks debate on parenting and road safety

A 2-year-old toddler in Lu’an city, Anhui Province, was killed after being run over by a car in a residential area while the child’s mother was focused on her phone, last Tuesday.
In video footage, that went viral on Sunday, the toddler could be seen wandering into the road, while the mother was just a few steps away apparently preoccupied by her mobile phone. A parked black car on the side of the road then starts to move and runs the child over.
The mother and the driver immediately went to check on the toddler, and rushed the child to the hospital, but unfortunately doctors couldn’t save the 2-year-old’s life.
The tragedy has triggered heated discussions on Chinese social networks about cellphones and parenting. While some say the mother should have paid more attention to her kid instead of staring at her cellphone, others argue it’s impossible for parents to keep their kids by their side at all times. Meanwhile, some said it was the drivers’ responsibility to watch out for kids, or any person, that may be in the road.
“Some parents just take the roads as their own backyard…” commented @Jinyuliangyang.
“But they were in their residential neighborhood. Isn’t it horrible that your kids’ lives are so easily in danger even if you get distracted for a moment in your own residential community?” argued @1066672990.
“The driver and the parent both have responsibilities. The mother should pay more attention to her kid instead of looking at cellphone all the time, and the driver should check around before starting the car,” wrote @SXXZbaihuaishidai.
The issue of people paying too much attention to their cellphones has become a serious problem in China recently. Earlier this year a woman drowned after falling into a canal, due to being preoccupied with her phone, had sparked heated debate online.

However the issue of road safety is also an important one in China with the toddler’s death being far from an isolated incident. In 2015 the World Health Organization published a report estimating that 10,000 children die from road traffic accidents in China every year. Just one day before the accident in Lu’an occurred, a little girl died in a similar accident in Shaanxi Province. The driver said he didn’t see the girl in front of his car, and thought he had just hit a speed bump.
Last August, a driver in Jiangxi Province accidentally knocked over and killed his own son, because he didn’t notice the 2-year-old had suddenly run to the rear of the car when he put the car into reverse.
A traffic warden told CCTV that there exist “blind spots” that even the most experienced drivers can come across, and the only measure they can take to avoid such tragedies is to pay close attention before and during driving – such as walking around the car to check before getting into the car; sticking their heads out of the car window to check before starting the cars; and slowing down while driving in residential areas.

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