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1-year-old girl hit and killed by kindergarten bus

38 Comments

A one-year-old girl was hit and killed by a kindergarten bus after she had come out to see her brother off to kindergarten in Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture,on Monday.

According to police, the accident occurred just before 9 a.m. Fuji TV reported that Tamao Yamaguchi had come out with her mother and 3-year-old brother to see him off to kindergarten. After he boarded the bus, the 72-year-old driver started to pull away. The driver was quoted by police as saying he immediately felt that the bus had hit something.

The child was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

There were seven children and one teacher on the bus at the time but none were injured, police said.

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38 Comments
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RIP poor girl.

My thoughts with the driver too.

These things can happen anywheres.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Tamao Yamaguchi had come out with her mother and 3-year-old brother to see him off to kindergarten

And the mother should have been holding both of their hands tightly.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

...the 72-year-old driver....

Sadly reminds me of that comedienne commenting re: Reagan during his presidency: "My grandfather is 72, and we don't trust him with the remote control!"

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

A 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and even above year old near a vehicle that is going to start moving needs to be held, either by the hand or picked up. Such a preventable accident. Extremely sad. Also, needs to be asked, when was the driver's vision, peripheral vision, hearing and reaction times tested.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

This just breaks my heart. Poor little girl was just saying good bye to her big brother and sadly big brother will never see his little sister again for his whole life. So many people will feel the pain for this preventable death. It's so sad it just hurts to think about it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Why the thumbs down to the posters who are aware of smart parenting? Why on earth was the mother not holding that child's hand or carrying them? Why was the child allowed to be near the bus in a place that they could get run over? That poor driver. He'll be charged doe something that is not his fault.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

72 is not old in Japan!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

RIP little girl!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A one year old should be in her mother's or father's arms near the road and vehicles. Just hold her hand? No. Not even a death grip on her wrist is sufficient, though it would be better. Even my child of 3 gets picked up when near the road or vehicles.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Tragedy , I have a 4 year old daughter , if that happened to my daughter i'd lose it , then it makes me think , what is the difference between that little girl and mine , nothing we are all god's children, this is too sad, irresponsible parent's and the driver are to blame, what!? It's no ones fault!? Just an accident!?

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

72 year old driver?? REALLY? C'mon bounds of reason!!

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

The driver has just had his life destroyed by some twit parent that key get one year kid run around a bus!

9 ( +12 / -3 )

@therougou and others

And the mother should have been holding both of their hands tightly.

Unfortunately that's not always enough. Plus you don't know that she wasn't holding hands from the story above. (which might change as details become available)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sorry, but as a kindergarten bus driver, he should have been trained to look for little kids around his bus. Although the parent may be negligent to let the child running front of the bus, the bus driver should have double checked, triple checked before he even started moving the bus. Also I question any kindergarten that employs a 72 year old to drive small children to school.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

A sad and sorry event for all concerned - BUT no matter which way you look at it, the onus is surely 100% on the mother to keep her child safe.

I mean, for xxxxxx sake - a 1 year old, a toddler!!! It'd still be 99% negligence on the mothers behalf with a slightly more aware 3yr old. But 1 years old???????

An unbelievably painful lesson in life - kids are parents responsibility - no escape clause.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

We were "treated" to almost exactly the same kind of story just a year or so ago... All those who blame the driver either never drive or have never driven near a kindergarten bus stop... It is not always easy to "hold hands" - which is why, on a separate thread some months ago, a few of us mothers suggested "reins" for the very young. In Japan it's ALWAYS the drivers who are blamed for something they couldn't possibly have avoided.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So sad, been seeing so many of these kind of cases being reported here on JT... RIP little girl

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unfortunately that's not always enough. Plus you don't know that she wasn't holding hands from the story above.

I took an educated guess. I also said "tightly" because I know they do tend to wriggle free. And I only said hold hands given the fact that she had a 3-year-old boy with her as well. It's possible the boy got away and she went after him, forgetting about the 1-year-old for a second. That would be the most reasonable scenario - but I'm sure everyone living here in Japan sees, on a regular basis, 1 or 2 year babies allowed to walk freely several meters behind their parents.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

therougou

And I only said hold hands given the fact that she had a 3-year-old boy with her as well. It's possible the boy got away and she went after him, forgetting about the 1-year-old for a second.

What? Did you not read the article? The school bus was pulling away after loading, so the 3 year-old boy had to be ON the bus leaving the mother with two empty hands to hold her one year-old. Keeping the toddler out of harms way was 100% the mother's responsibility and 100% NOT the driver's fault and his age was NOT a causal factor for the accident.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A kindergarten bus is supposed to be constantly surrounded by tiny kids, some of them merely 2 feet tall, often innocently come into blind spots in front the bus or behind, making multiple monitoring cameras on the bus an absolute necessity. When even cheap cellphones have camera lenses and monitors all over its body, why can't a kindergarten bus do the same?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Here we go again another child dead because the parents lose situation awareness of the child. I guess the mom was so excited she forgot about her other child!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@USNinJapan2

What? Did you not read the article? The school bus was pulling away after loading, so the 3 year-old boy had to be ON the bus leaving the mother with two empty hands to hold her one year-old. Keeping the toddler out of harms way was 100% the mother's responsibility and 100% NOT the driver's fault and his age was NOT a causal factor for the accident.

Read both of my posts. No where do I blame the bus driver. I misread the article thinking there were 3 kids, and the sister and brother came out to see off their older brother. I guess my brain couldn't possibly think this could happen if the mother only had 1 child to look after.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This must be heart breaking for the mother. When The Lord wants you, all sorts of incidents, however strange happen. I feel sorry for the mother who must be feeling that it was her fault.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@YongYang also Mirai Hayashi

Also, needs to be asked, when was the driver's vision, peripheral vision, hearing and reaction times tested.

uh, do you know how tall a 1yr old is? And she may well have been crawling given her age. How is a bus driver supposed to see such a child if she had crawled/walked directly in front? She would be shorter than the tyre. (if that is what happened of course). Just saying that you're awful quick to accuse the driver here.

also Mirai Hayashi

Sorry, but as a kindergarten bus driver, he should have been trained to look for little kids around his bus.

You're saying he should exit the bus, check in front of all four tyres & then magically jump back into the drivers seat, start it up & drive away before any other child might walk/crawl/run in front of any of the tyres. Does Harry Potter live in your magical fantasy world with you?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ive been a mother holding a toddlers hand when he suddenly slipped from my grasp so I can see how that could happen.

However, Ive also been a kindergarten mother seeing kids off on a bus with a bunch of other kindergarten mothers who, the minute the kids are on the bus, stand around chatting and paying scant attention to the siblings running around playing. So I can see how easily that could happen too.

I feel sorry for the mother who must be feeling that it was her fault.

It was her fault. She was responsible for her childs safety. No one else. This was not a bolt of lightning. This was an entirely preventable accident.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think some witness said the mom left the girl inside, but she came out on her own. So I don't think that there was any hand holding to begin with. But the girl normally came out together, so the mom should have known.

Also, remember we are likely talking about a minibus or minivan type vehicle, not a huge bus. It may not have required Harry Potter to see the girl. So now I am starting to put a little blame on the bus driver as well.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I thought these buses are supposed to have mirrors so there is no blind spot around the bus?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Praying for both this family of the little girl and for the bus driver.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A kindergarten bus is supposed to be constantly surrounded by tiny kids, some of them merely 2 feet tall, often innocently come into blind spots in front the bus or behind

uh, do you know how tall a 1yr old is? And she may well have been crawling given her age. How is a bus driver supposed to see such a child if she had crawled/walked directly in front? She would be shorter than the tyre

My daughter took a bus to school everyday for three years, so I know exactly what the situation is like with the buses, and parents sending their kids off. Kindergarten buses are built like city buses. They have HUGE windows and a HUGE windshield. Its almost like a bubble car. The driver sits really high giving a good field of view of the front and sides of the bus.

Additionally, there are mirrors ALL over the bus, inside and out, and the drivers are trained to look at every single mirror (and sometimes even point to it) before even moving a single centimeter.

Lastly, yes it could be possible that the child was crawling, but I doubt it. The parent would have to be real dim wit to allow a small child crawl on the ground outside (which I don't dismiss completely, but unlikely) There are plenty of 1 year olds who can walk. My daughter started walking at 10 months old.

With this all said, I don't place the blame entirely on the driver. OF COURSE its the parent's fault for not watching her own child. She was probably most likely chatting with the other mothers like a lot of really dumb parents do. BUT, the driver doesn't get off scotch free either. As a school bus driver picking up little kids who do scurry around a lot, he needs to be EXTRA EXTRA cautious. He should have noticed that there was a small child present as he was pulling up to the stop. As he was pulling away he should have made sure that he can still see that small child. Its common sense. Even with my six year old, when she gets out of my car, and I get ready to back into my car space, I always instruct her to get clear away, and shout when its safe. Until then, I will not move my car. I am not saying that the bus driver should have done this, but he needed to be a lot more aware of what is around his bus, and is definitely partially to blame for the child's death

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

laguna,

Clearly, it was not the age of the driver that caused this tragedy. It was the fact the a child was able to be in a dangerous situation in the first place that caused it. Holding the child or holding their hand would have prevented it. A younger driver would not have. BTW, 72 is not that old. You should meet some people around that age and find out for yourself before passing judgement.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

TV news coverage of the accident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO-tNsZRY9I

The driver was an experienced veteran retired city bus driver. It looks like the toddler crawled under the front of the mini-bus while it was loading. I personally can't fault the driver as I don't believe there was any way for him to see the toddler even if he had checked the mirror that enables him to see immediately in front of the vehicle. Regardless, he was operating the motor vehicle so under Japanese laws he will undoubtedly shoulder a portion of the legal responsibility for the accident, but the responsibility to prevent it lies 100% with the mother.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow - 15 thumbs down! That has to be a record for me! But, really, if your own child - or grandchild - were driven to school in a bus piloted by a septuagenarian, if you didn't feel a bit concerned, you would not be a good parent.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

But, really, if your own child - or grandchild - were driven to school in a bus piloted by a septuagenarian, if you didn't feel a bit concerned, you would not be a good parent.

I disagree on both your points. 1) Judging people solely on their age and nothing else is referred to as agesim and it is just as dangerous and wrong as racism or sexism. I would be concerned if the driver were a bad driver full stop no matter what age they were. If they were a good driver, I would feel just fine.

you would not be a good parent.

I disagree on your assessment of what constitutes 'not a good parent'. I maintain that a "not good parent" would be one that does not maintain control of a smail child by either picking them up or holding their hand, etc, when there is a clear danger such as traffic nearby. You have shown no reason to think the driver did anything wrong except for living to be 72. Being 72 is not a crime and should not be treating as being one and people whom I assume to be older than you should not automatically be considered criminals simply because they are of a certain age. Trust me, you will not like it when people do it to you and you should not do it to others.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

However, Ive also been a kindergarten mother seeing kids off on a bus with a bunch of other kindergarten mothers who, the minute the kids are on the bus, stand around chatting and paying scant attention to the siblings running around playing. So I can see how easily that could happen too.

I leave 10 minutes earlier than I need to in the morning to avoid this group - they stand in the middle of the road while the kids run wild. Drives me nuts and leaving earlier means I don't a) have to see it and b) fear that one of these days I will hit one of their kids.

Lastly, yes it could be possible that the child was crawling, but I doubt it. The parent would have to be real dim wit to allow a small child crawl on the ground outside (which I don't dismiss completely, but unlikely) There are plenty of 1 year olds who can walk. My daughter started walking at 10 months old. A one year old hit by a kindy bus driven by a vet driver... I'm going with DIM mother who clearly wasn't paying attention to her kid. Walk or crawl, you keep your hands and yours eyes on your kids at that age, more so arounf traffic. It's not rocket science.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

tmarie,

Great points.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"So many people will feel the pain for this preventable death"

Thanks in large part to mom not keeping the child back. No doubt this was a ritual done by mom and little sister, and so mom just kind of let go for a change, if she usually held on to her one-year-old, that is, and now we see the consequences.

ReformedBasher: So you're suggesting she may well have been holding the child's hand as the child stood in front of and/or obviously too close to the bus and got hit? That would make her even LESS responsible! 100% mom's fault, any way you slice it, especially given the proof USNinJapan2 provides with the link.

It's a shame that as a result the poor little girl died, the bus driver will face charges and all sorts of fees, not to mention the shock, and the family will all suffer terribly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Mirai Hayashi

My daughter took a bus to school everyday for three years, so I know exactly what the situation is like with the buses, and parents sending their kids off. Kindergarten buses are built like city buses. They have HUGE windows and a HUGE windshield. Its almost like a bubble car. The driver sits really high giving a good field of view of the front and sides of the bus.

Additionally, there are mirrors ALL over the bus, inside and out, and the drivers are trained to look at every single mirror (and sometimes even point to it) before even moving a single centimeter.

Lastly, yes it could be possible that the child was crawling, but I doubt it. The parent would have to be real dim wit to allow a small child crawl on the ground outside (which I don't dismiss completely, but unlikely) There are plenty of 1 year olds who can walk. My daughter started walking at 10 months old.

With this all said, I don't place the blame entirely on the driver. OF COURSE its the parent's fault for not watching her own child. She was probably most likely chatting with the other mothers like a lot of really dumb parents do. BUT, the driver doesn't get off scotch free either. As a school bus driver picking up little kids who do scurry around a lot, he needs to be EXTRA EXTRA cautious. He should have noticed that there was a small child present as he was pulling up to the stop. As he was pulling away he should have made sure that he can still see that small child. Its common sense. Even with my six year old, when she gets out of my car, and I get ready to back into my car space, I always instruct her to get clear away, and shout when its safe. Until then, I will not move my car. I am not saying that the bus driver should have done this, but he needed to be a lot more aware of what is around his bus, and is definitely partially to blame for the child's death

You admittedly don't know the facts of the case, yet the bus driver is "definitely partially to blame for the child's death". Incredible.

I don't place the blame entirely on the driver

I should hope not, none of the facts have been made public yet. Interesting to see that your general stance is that it's 100% the Driver's fault unless proven otherwise though.

By the way, my point about crawling was that although the child may have been able to walk, if she got very close to or under the bus it may well be the case she wasn't on her feet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You admittedly don't know the facts of the case, yet the bus driver is "definitely partially to blame for the child's death". Incredible.

Mlodinow, he ran over the kid. To say he is not partially to blame would be a bit strange in itself.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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