The sun is out, school's out and so are young children.
A 2-year-old boy was killed on Thursday after being struck by a vehicle driven by his father at their home in Wagener, police have said. No foul play is suspected, and investigators have deemed it an accident, but the Aiken Department of Public Safety has a few tips for parents and motorists to keep in mind to avoid similar tragedies.
“Parents need to have that conversation with their kids,” said Capt. Maryann Burgess. “They want to be sure they understand that they can't play at or in the roadway.”
If your kids are playing outside, Burgess said they shouldn't be allowed to play anywhere they have the potential to encounter a vehicle.
“Children aren't going to understand the danger until their parents have that dialogue with them,” she said. “It's a fact of life: the roads are busy and children do not need to be anywhere near a roadway when they're playing.” Parents should also be mindful when supervising children who are playing.
“The more supervision required is going to be for your young children,” Burgess said, adding that the younger the child, the more supervision is required. “That's the type of supervision where you really can't take your eyes off of them for even a second.”
Motorists should be alert and aware of their surroundings, especially when traveling through residential areas.
“They do need to be prepared, especially in the summertime when there is the potential for children to be playing where they shouldn't be,” Burgess said. “Motorists do need to keep that in mind when they're traversing areas that are more heavily populated.”
In addition to obeying speed limits, Burgess said motorists need to constantly scan the roadway in front of them, check their mirrors and make sure the roadway is free of obstructions.
Whether you're backing out of a parking space at the mall or just down your driveway, Burgess said extra caution is required.
“Unless you have somebody backing you, there is the potential for problems anytime you're backing up,” she said. Before getting into your car, do a quick walk-around to make sure there aren't any obstructions.
“For the people who do have young children that might be in a driveway sort of area, make sure their children are either with somebody or not anywhere in the area if they're backing out of a driveway,” Burgess said. “Even backing out of your own driveway, it doesn't hurt to walk around the back of your car and make sure it's free of obstruction.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.