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Vehicle close call with toddler a stark reminder for parking lot safety | Globalnews.ca

It was a close call for a family of six in the Okanagan who ventured out for a bit of fun at a local bowling alley.

Video surveillance captured the moment when one of the family’s toddlers was nearly run over in the parking lot by an SUV last Thursday evening.

Had it not been for a little intuition from the driver, along with a lot of attention, the incident could have taken a terrible turn.

“And as I was rolling, as the video shows, one of the twins had decided to run around my car,” the driver, Heather Leask, told Global News. “And, unfortunately, you know, as a three-year-old, he’s very tiny and he doesn’t show above my window, so I had no idea he was running around my car.”


Click to play video: 'Toddler sent to hospital in life-threatening condition after collision in northeast Calgary'


Toddler sent to hospital in life-threatening condition after collision in northeast Calgary


Leask says her vehicle has front-end crash protection, but the alert system didn’t detect the child.

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The Vernon resident says she only hit her vehicle’s brakes because she noticed the top of the toddler’s beige coat, having seen the child with his family inside the bowling alley just moments prior.


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“If I hadn’t seen they were wearing beige coats, I wouldn’t even have known what that was,” said Leask. “I wouldn’t have known that was a child. I may not have hit the brakes.”

This kind of incident is all too familiar for Child Safe Canada.

“It’s really commonplace in shopping centres, everywhere,” said Child Safe Canada director Tracey Warren. “In this situation, we’ve got also darkness as an element. It’s concerning for the driver, concerning for the kids, concerning for everybody.”


Click to play video: 'Open House: Making your home safe for young children'


Open House: Making your home safe for young children


Warren says the key for parents and young families is to start safety education early on.

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“The parents, the caregivers, they are fully responsible for those kids,” said Warren. “Again, if you’re coming out, you’re busy and side-tracked, stay off your phone … keep the kids in the cart, hold their hands, put them in your carries if you’ve got them. You have to keep contact with those kids.”

Meanwhile, Leask said the terrifying ordeal has kept her up at night, but she’s hopeful this message reaches other parents. Warren added, “It was really the grace of God that the child is still alive and didn’t get injured. I don’t have to live with that and they don’t have to live with that.”

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