Tourist toddler run over
A toddler visiting New Zealand with his parents narrowly missed being killed after he was run over in a driveway.
The one-year-old boy was staying with his parents at a backpackers in Whangamata¯ on the Coromandel Peninsula when he was struck by a reversing car.
The toddler escaped with cuts to his head and was flown by the Westpac rescue helicopter to Waikato Hospital. But he came just centimetres from worse injury – ending up beneath the car and between the tyres.
Senior Sergeant Ray Malcolmson, of Waikato police, said the toddler was airlifted in a serious condition yesterday morning.
The parents of the injured toddler also flew with their son in the helicopter from the beachside town to hospital.
The family are visiting tourists from Germany. They were just a few weeks into a 10-week cycling journey of the country when their ordeal occurred.
The family were staying at a backpackers at Beverley Terrace, Whangamata¯ . The boy was struck near the kerbside at around 9.15am, Malcolmson said.
The parents were inside their room at the time their son crawled off to the end of the driveway, Sergeant Lara Beisly of Waikato police said.
They were unaware he had wandered away from their side and made it down the driveway, just metres from the front of the backpackers lodge.
‘‘It looked like he’d been playing with rocks or something and has done a disappearing act,’’ Beisly said.
The driver of the car, who was another guest at the backpackers, is also from Germany.
‘‘He got into his car which was facing the backpackers, and reversed out over the one-yearold,’’ Beisly said.
‘‘It was a miracle the baby went right straight through, underneath, and the tyres didn’t go over him.’’
The 34-year-old driver planned to go out for a surf when he reversed out of the driveway. He did not realise the toddler was in his path.
He has been left shaken by the incident, Beisly said.
Police were investigating but charges were not likely.
‘‘Victim Support are on their way to see him here,’’ she said.
By mid-afternoon, the toddler’s condition had improved. He was in a stable condition at hospital with his parents.