Nonprofit gives car safety demonstration after local 1-year-old struck by minivan dies

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Overland Park family is grieving the loss of their 1-year-old boy after he was hit by a minivan in Caldwell Co., Mo. The crash happened Saturday in the driveway of a rural home on Southwest Ore Road, north of Missouri 116 Highway, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

A patrol crash report says that Elijah Galloway of Overland Park, Kan., was struck by a Chrysler Pacifica driven by 32-year-old Caitlyn Galloway at about 6:20 p.m. The boy was taken to Liberty Hospital, but was pronounced dead about an hour after the crash.

There's a national organization that helps families locally who are dealing with these kinds of tragedies.

"There's nothing worse that could happen to you than talking the life of your own child," Director of KidsAndCars.org Amber Rollins said.

It happens though, even if you're the most careful person in the world. Rollins says, in more than 70 percent of these accidents it's a parent or a direct relative behind the wheel.

"Even the most loving and responsible parent can momentarily turn their head," Rollins said, "and then, you know, something happens."

Rollins says they see an increase in the number of backovers and frontovers when families experience a change in routine, usually occurring on holiday weekends.

"Most people don't know that 50 children every week are backed over because they couldn't be seen by the driver," Rollins said.

Rollins took FOX4 through a blind spot demonstration with help from 5-year-old Mabel.

"Most people would think they would be able to see a 5-year-old standing behind a car," Rollins said. But it took Mabel about twenty steps back before the person in the driver's seat could even see the top of her head.

"Whenever I've done a blind zone demonstration with somebody his size, [a 1-year-old], he would be at the very end of the driveway before I would be able to see him," Rollins said.

While back up cameras can aide in preventing accidents, people still need remember there's a six to eight foot blind zone in front of the vehicle. Rollins suggested that everyone should get in the habit of walking the "Circle of Safety".

"So you actually want to physically walk around the entire vehicle," Rollins said.

While you're doing that, look and listen out for kids playing.

"If you can hear them," Rollins said, "they're close enough to get in danger really quickly."

Rollins knows that first hand, admitting she's had close calls with her own kids. And she has been educating others on this subject for 15 years.

"It's so unfair that I am holding him and this family's not holding theirs," Rollins said. "No one should have to bury their child."

If you have experienced a tragedy and need help visit KidsAndCars.org. The website also offers more tips on how to keep your kids safe in and around cars.

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