Motor vehicle and drowning deaths biggest threat to your child

Motor vehicle and drowning deaths biggest threat to your child »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- As we first reported last night, a toddler was hit and killed by his mother outside their Kennewick home.

Police say it appears to be a tragic accident. It's the kind of story that shakes every parent to their core and as tragic as it is, accidents like this are rare.

A parent's greatest fear is losing a child and it's Kathleen's job to help you avoid that.

"The leading cause of unintentional injury in kids is motor vehicle crashes and motor vehicle events like last night."

Kathleen Clary-Cook is a safety coordinator for the Safe Kids Coalition of Tri-Cities.

"It's not parents who are negligent necessarily, most of the time, it's someone who's out of their routine and they just forget," she says.

According to numbers from the Safe Kids Coalition, at least three kids have died in a car accident here in the Tri-Cities in the last two years.
But that category doesn't just cover crashes or children being hit crossing the road. It also covers the cases where a parent accidentally leaves a child in a car on a hot day. It happened last August in Pasco when a mom and dad didn't realize the other parent hadn't removed a sleeping toddler from the car.

"We lose about 40 kids a year in hot cars in this country and we've already had 12 already this year," Kathleen added.

We haven't had a child drown in our area for several years, but drowning remains the second biggest cause of death for kids under ten. Nationwide, more than 500 kids drowned in 2010, according to the most recent CDC numbers.

Kathleen says the best way to keep your kids safe is to know where they are at all times. Whether it be in the back seat of your car, or playing in the river:

"We're not suggesting that we should wrap our kids in bubble wrap not let them move. Kids are kids and they need to explore their world, it's how they are going to learn, but you need to make sure that they're safe."

Balancing that safety while letting kids be kids.

Police don't expect to file criminal charges related to Tuesday's tragedy. The toddler had been running out to greet his mother when officers say she likely hit the gas instead of the brake.