2-year-old killed in day care center parking lot

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2-year-old killed in day care center parking lot

A two-year-old boy was killed in his day care center parking lot after a van backed up and hit him.

The van was being driven by the director of the day care center.

The tragedy occurred around 9:10 a.m. Wednesday in Mipyeong-dong, Yeosu. The boy, surnamed Park, was taken with severe head injuries to a nearby hospital but failed to survive. The whole scene was recorded by a CCTV, according to the Yeosu Police Precinct in South Jeolla.

“There were teachers in charge of taking the children inside, so I thought everyone was in the building and started parking without getting out of the car to check,” said the director of the day care center, a 56-year old woman named Song. “But then, with a thud, the accident occurred.”

Song is under investigation by the police for breach of the Act on Special Cases concerning the Settlement of Traffic Accidents. Three to four teachers on duty at the time will also be investigated to determine if they have any responsibility.

This tragedy occurred only eight days after an incident in which a 4-year-old boy surnamed Choi was left alone for eight hours in an over-heated school bus in Gwangju.

On July 29, Choi was locked in a van in heat that reached 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and passed out. He has not regained consciousness. The driver and the teachers in charge didn’t check to see if anyone was inside the bus, according to a police investigation.

Following that incident, the Ministry of Education called a meeting on Aug. 2 with officials from 17 metropolitan and provincial Offices of Education, responsible for safety.

Safety regulations were reinforced with the “Se-rim Law” following the death of Kim Se-rim, a 3-year-old girl, who was hit by a day care center van in 2013.

The number of school bus accidents is increasing with 220 in 2013, 248 in 2014, and 288 in 2015, according to the National Police Agency.

“Educational workers are overly insensitive to the safety of children,” said Yu Mi-sook, professor of child welfare at Sookmyung Women’s University. “The government needs to strengthen the culture of safety.”

BY KIM HO [shon.jihye@joongang.co.kr]

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