Japan Today

Car hits 1-year-old girl while backing out of hospital parking area


Police said Sunday that a 1-year-old girl was seriously injured after she was hit by a car that was reversing out of a parking area at a hospital in Yokohama on Saturday.

According to police, the accident occurred at about 3 p.m. in the car park of a hospital in Kawaihoncho in Asahi Ward. The 66-year-old driver of the car was quoted by police as saying he didn't see anyone as he reversed his car out of a parking spot, TBS reported.

Police said the car hit 1-year-old Emi Tanaka who was walking along behind her parents. She suffered internal injuries and was taken to another hospital but her condition is not life-threatening, police said.

The child's parents told police they had taken their eyes off Emi just for a second, TBS reported.

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Seems to be totally the parents fault, feel really sorry for the old guy, there is no way he could possibly see a one year old. PARKS - you can give a toddler some freedom to roam

CARPARKS - you hold their damn hands.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

The child’s parents told police they had taken their eyes off Emi just for a second, TBS reported.

BS. Anyone who has spent more than a few weeks in Japan knows that this kind of parenting is very common here. What is considered "kawaiso" for the parents would be a charge of negligence in a civilized country.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

A one year old walking alone in a car park?? Parents of the year award. Hold their hands damn it.

Poor driver. No way could he have seen her. I hope he isn't charged as the guilt is enough. Her parents on the other hand... So tired of seeing and hearing about such bad parenting.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Yes, I find a very strange and skewed discrepancy in Japan between what is expected of you at at a young age and what is expected of you at an older age. At 2 you can be shouted at for not knowing the highway code and clearing up after yourself after meals, but at 19 you can be let off a murder charge because you are not an "adult". Having said that perhaps parents here are lulled into a false sense of security because of the whole "Safe Japan" thing because I've seen more and more of my western friends do similar things, not as bad as not holding a 1 year old's hand in a car-park but I was still surprised at their faith in things being allright.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I was taught to always try to reverse in to a parking spot, then you can drive out; also meant that you had less chance of stalling with a cold engine, if you did need to go back. From in the days when cars had chokes and no ECMs.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Careless parents may have learnt a expensive lesson at the detriment of their daughter, silly, silly people, every parent should know you need to hold a small childs and at all times when out side the home except of course when in a park or day care center.

Parents should be charged with child endangerment and abuse of a child.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you care to drive, drive with care.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Not gonna defend the parents, but as a parent of a one year old daughter I can attest to the fact that even one second is too long to take your eyes off a toddler. My daughter can now "run" about as fast as an adult can walk. That means in one second she can be around 1.5 meters away from you, and out of reach.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Aha! She was walking behind her parents? And, just how far behind her parents would that be? Anywhere from 5 to 50 meters from what I have seen in Japan. Nobody lets a one-year-old walk around a car park by themselves and this is why. Sadly, this old fella will cop the full blame for this and it is clearly a result of neglectful and irresponsible parents, again!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

bicultural - that's right, and that's why you hold their hand all the time in a car park. You don't expect them to "follow behind", and I hope you never do either.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Looks like many of the posters have no kids. 100% attention 24/24, 7/7 and 365/365 is impossible. I do not judge this case - justice will do - but please keep your nasty comments on how to care children. In Tokyo this is an every day sport. No safe sidewalks, narrow streets, driver careless of cross walks and speeding, red light being green for most of the taxis. Actually I am surprise there is not more accidents.

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

Open Minded - Looks like many of the posters have no kids. 100% attention 24/24, 7/7 and 365/365 is impossible.

Eh? I fear it is you that has no kids. Or, do you actually let your one year old wander around a car park by his or her self? Seriously? Nobody is talking about 100% attention, but attention in a hospital car park? That is just bloody common sense!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

If you care to drive, drive with care.

How about, if you care to have kids, have kids and keep and eye on them? You can't fault the driver in this case. A one year old is impossible to see when backing up. Adults on the other hand, are impossible to miss. Had they been holding her hand, this wouldn't have happened.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I own a vehicle that sounds an alarm as soon as the reverse gear is operated, and take extreme care whilst reversing. Supermarket carparks are the most hazardous in which to carry out the manouver. People with and without children continuosly decide to walk behind the car even when they can plainly see the prospect of impending danger. When ever possible I choose to reverse into a parking spot, but even that is no guarantee that some person will not try to squeeze through during the procedure.. i understand the problems of child supervision, and that struggling with shopping a pushchair and a busy carpark is not an easy . There is such a thing as a child harness, I found them invaluable in solving this particular issue. Anyway I hope the little one is soon well and that it in future more vigilence is observed

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This nearly happened to me back home years ago. I had driven into a parking space, and put the car in reverse to reverse out and straighten up a bit. As I started to move backwards I heard a scream and instantly slammed on the brakes. I wasnt going fast anyway. I jumped out of the car to find a 2 year old standing behind it. Mercifully I hadnt hit her, she was just a bit shocked - more from the scream I think, than my car.

The Father raced towards me (from about 30 metres away) and proceeded to go apeshit, screaming in my face. I calmly apologised but explained that I couldnt even see her in my rear view mirror (there had also been a big van in the space next to me blocking my view) and was it really wise of him to allow his infant to run around a car park? He then threatened to call the police on me. I said go ahead and walked into the store, where he then stalked me the whole way around, eyeballing me and towing his little girl.

It was awful. I was really shaken up, but there was NOTHING I could have done to avoid it. I was even edging out extra slowly because the big van was there blocking my view but no way could I have seen her.

I see parents ALL the time walking ahead of their toddlers, not even looking back. I totally understand it is hard to get them to walk with you and hold your hand - my 2 year old currently refuses to - but in a safe place you then check behind you every few seconds and in a dangerous place like a car park it is non-negotiable - you pick them up and carry them to a safer place if they refuse to hold your hand.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Hang on a second everyone. Has anyone paused to consider the context of this accident? A hospital parking area. That means that in all likelihood one or both of the parents were sick. Now I'm not excusing them not holding onto their child, it's what they should have been doing, but when you're sick you're not exactly at your best, and as a sick parent with a one-year-old you can add sleep-deprived to that equation. If there were no grandparents then Japan is remarkably short on babysitters to call to take care of a child for a few hours while you go to the hospital. I face this problem every time my wife is sick, I have to take care of her and my daughter, we have no grandparents in the country and I can't be everywhere at once.

So yes, they made a mistake, but it's hardly tar and feathering time. Someone was sick and they were distracted. They may be parents, but they're not super-human.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

That means that in all likelihood one or both of the parents were sick.

Or perhaps they were going to visit a friend who just had a baby? The likeihhod that both parents are sick is slim and very reaching. There is no good reason not to be holding onto your one year old child in a parking. Period.

OMG, that father sounds like a jerk. He's going to call the cops on you? Other way around with parents not paying attention to their kids. The kid was lucky you heard her scream. Hope dad learned a lesson from that.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Frungy - That has to be one of the biggest leaps of faith in an apololgist I've seen in a long time. Parents too sick to hold a baby's hand in a carpark but not so sick as to be released from hospital. All the while ignoring the huge possibility they were there to visit someone or treat their own kid for the sniffles. Would u let go of your babys hand just cause u had a limp??

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Frungy - come on man, you normally speak lots of sense but not on this occasion. You hold a 1 year old's hand or simply hold them in any car park. That is Parenting 0.1011111111111...... It is akin to not holding their hand a metre away from a cliff.. no-one would defend that and it's no different.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I realize Japanese don't like public signs of affection,but a one year old definitely needs their hand to be held.What is wrong with these Parents?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have a 5 year old and watch her like a hawk! I use basic common sense, as a rule she has to hold my outside near ANY streets, roads or parking lots, NO exceptions! When I walk on the side of the road, I am always standing on the outside and she on the inside. People don't care, when they drive, especially in the morning during rush hour, driving between small streets, parents taking their kids to daycare, while the kids often sit in the front seat either bouncing up and down without a seat belt or strapped with the child's seat in the front. I have had so many near misses, but people often get fearlessly selfish when they are in a hurry with their kids. I am not saying every Japanese person is neglectful, but most countries have a lot of police on the roads patrolling and watching the drivers, but in Japan, I hardly see cops on the road at all and when I do, they are looking for things that are not as a high priority, they just want to make sure you have your seat belt on, but little kids sitting in the front seat, not strapped in, just goes unnoticed. I often see parents walking in the streets and the kids are trailing behind them, they should walk in front of them! I feel bad for this guy, I know this man did not intend for this to happen, but kids are mobile, they are curious and inquisitive and you need to keep your eyes on them at all times, especially when they are around cars or anything that can potentially harm them, it just takes one time!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The parents where probably not being careful and let there 1 year old fall behind and she got hit (speculating only). My youngest is in elementary and I still keep an eye on him while crossing parking lots and crosswalks. They say she was injured but not life threatening. I wish the young girl a full recovery. I hope they do not prosecute the driver, their is no way to see a child that small when backing up (unless you have a backup camera installed) . I hope this accident helps make cars safer in the future with better technology which is out there. Unfortunately in today's society it seems to take bad things to happen to force companies to install available safety devices as standard.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The problem is LACK of common sense. Parents need to be aware of the dangers that surround their children as the children themselves can't foresee the dangers themselves. I'm an over protective mom. I did not allow my daughter to walk through a parking lot or cross a street until she was near 3 yrs of age and carried her until we reached a sidewalk. I placed dowels in window tracks so that it could not open more than 3 inches so she could not fall through the window. Even now I still check the car seat for her (when I know she is not with me) before walking away from the car so that I never make a mistake of leaving her in a parked car. And so on and so on. I don't remember being taught this but common sense dictates that since my child is the most precious gift in my life and whatever extra steps that needs to be taken to ensure her safety is NEVER a burden.

I have not lived in Japan since I was a child so I don't really know how the average driver are or how the parents care for their children there. But from the countless reports read here and comments made it stands to reason that some PSA's to educate the people of Japan on child safety might lessen the reports that are becoming the norm in the news lately.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bad parenting has once again resulted in a innocent child getting harmed. Why weren't they holding the childs hand in a place where cars could be moving? Such a simple thing as a parent to remember! I always make sure my girl holds my hand while near a road or in a car park. Its common sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do these type of stories get exposure in the Japanese print media? We seem to read about Japanese children dying from very easily preventable situations, about twice a month. It's hard to believe that people haven't learned anything from other people's past tragic experiences.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does anyone know Japanese stats on how many kids die from traffic accidents a year in Japan by neglect or not wearing a seat belt or just walking home, I really would like to know. If someone could find out, that would really be good to know and from there, you can better educate and properly teach parents how they need to be cautious when around vehicles that roam everywhere.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

kids are difficult to control, not the parents fault. and anyways she got hit at a hospital but was taken to another hospital? lol what??

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

If a really young child won't hold your hand in a dangerous place, such as a car park, along a busy road or even on a train platform, you make them hold your hand or....you strap them into a pram...you carry them, squirming if need be....or use a harness. You don't let them walk behind you where you cannot see what is happening in that one second you glance away. Or in front of you where they can suddenly speed off to god knows where. You make sure they are in your grasp so you as the parent, the adult can adapt to any danger that may show itself.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

OMG....why was she taken to another hospital? So they can get an ambulance charge on her bill? I hope she received immediate treatment before she got a transfer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Careless parents ARE SIMPLY THAT. When I walked my 2 year old niece in Las Vegas, I ALWAYS held her hands so as not to taken away by a child molester.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeahhhhh !!!! During 5pm at a JR Station I saw 1 year old walking up the dirty steps of dirty JR station unattended, not evening holding the kids hands, - mothers are not the brightest light bulb in Japan. I stared at the mother and father to get the childs hands or something. The kid almost got hit from the train rush after a few stares from me, the parents finally got the message.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And again another week...another child hit..how many more weeks must we see these things happen. Watch your surroundings!! :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As most of the people here have said, there's no way someone backing out of a parking spot is going to see a 1-year old in the mirrors. The parents are idiots for letting their child walk through a parking lot on her own. It's people like this who make the case for a "Parenting Test" to be taken whenever someone gets pregnant. Fail the test and mandatory child safety classes are in store for BOTH parents before the child comes to term.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have seen lots of stupidity and sucha lack of commonsense from these japanese parents, sure you have your days when the toddler is in the front seat with no seatbelt on ,or you have the other days when the little ones are in the game centre unattended whilst their parents are playing on the pachinko machines.. To sum it up The parents here have no real sense of real danger to their children as mentioned in the above comments they seem to worry about little insignificant things like perhaps a child running in the park and they would scream out "ABUNAI YO" or perhaps playing with their toys etc etc.... As for this particular article, the parents should have been holding her hand, as 1 yr old has no understanding of what danger is...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I ALWAYS held her hands so as not to taken away by a child molester.

What a totally mental thing to say. If someone had grabbed this little girl in the parking lot, as I have been tempted to do many times, she might not have been injured at all. But this kind of paranoia about child molesters prevents good people from taking action lest they be accused. And stupid parents like this need the visual example and shame of perfect strangers taking better care of their kids than they do.

But of course many Japanese just suffer from head-up-the-buttitis. Always focused on made-up unimportant details and not on what is actually happening.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is simply no excuse for the parents not holding the child's hand or carrying her. If they don't recognize the dangers of walking through a car park, and let their one year old 'walk behind' them anywhere, then they were simply an accident waiting to happen.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The child’s parents told police they had taken their eyes off Emi just for a second, TBS reported.

Idiots. If they were holding her hand it wouldn't have mattered that they took their eyes off of her for second, a minute, etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stupid parents indeed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seems to be the norm here having the small children walk behind you. I saw this happen to a small boy on a bicycle a few years back. Mom was in the front on her bicycle gone around the corner, the boy was a couple of meters behind trying to keep up, but fell and went under a truck when he made the quick turn around the corner. Fortunately the trucker saw it and stopped in time. Unfortunately the mom never saw what happen; the kid got up with the help from the trucker and went on his way to catch up to her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Let me see, a ONE year old, walking with BOTH her idiot parents gets HIT by a car, what in the hell were these 2 fools doing by allowing a ONE year old to WALK in a parking lot!!!!??? I feel so sorry for the poor old man, no way in hell to be able to see or even IMAGINE a one year let to walk around a parking lot, just plain stupid, heck even a 2 or 3 year old is quite dangerous let alone a ONE YEAR OLD, stupid! Stupid! Stupid parents, let me guess they thought it would be kawaii to see their little kid take some baby steps?? But in a PARKING LOT?? IDIOTS!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I use the back cameras when I back out of a parking space. They aren't so expensive, and they do save lives.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What kind of blithering idiot lets a 1-year old walk alone (even if nearby) in parking lot?

Horrible for all concerned, including the driver, who obviously had no chance in hell to see the little one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

WilliB takes the words out of my mouth again, no idea what these fools were thinking in letting a 1 year old run around a parking lot! I do hope the little girl recovers soon and that these idiot fool parents reflect on their own stupidity!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hoserfellaJun. 03, 2012 - 04:47PM JST

Anyone who has spent more than a few weeks in Japan knows that this kind of parenting is very common here. What is considered "kawaiso" for the parents would be a charge of negligence in a civilized country.

Hoserfella: What is your definition of "this kind of parenting"? I'm only asking because you always seem to be painting 130 million people living in Japan with the same brush based on what you see on JT, and, of course what you see with your own eyes after "years of living here", which leaves me to believe that you are constantly walking around Japan, looking for the negative attributes of Japan and the Japanese people to complain about, without ever having a positive comment, or at least something constructive to contribute .....otherwise, one cannot come up with so many negative stereotypes and generalizations about Japan!

Now I will agree with many other posts here that these parents in this Yokohama parking lot indeed need to learn basic parenting and possibly deserve to be hit (but not killed) by a car themselves for being so ignorant, but, for the sake of the family's best interests, I also hope that the parents learn an important lesson, never make that mistake again, and little Emi Tanaka grows up to make a positive contribution to society.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tahoochi - You'll have to remind me where I said every single parent in Japan was just as bad. Where was that again, please?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Miss mod - just to clarify. Criticism of parenting habits by many Japanese parents - Not ok.

Advocating said parents be run over by a moving vehicle as punishment for said habits - OK!


as always, I salute your consistancy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

hoserfellaJun. 05, 2012 - 10:48AM JST

Tahoochi - You'll have to remind me where I said every single parent in Japan was just as bad. Where was that again, please?

Please, hoserfella, are you gonna split hairs here? Your comments clearly reflect your point of view that negligence and bad parenting are common in Japan...... oh, wait a minute, that's what you said!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Tahoochi and hoserfella, please do not address one another on this thread anymore.

Never mind hoserfella, I can see that your set in your ways.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"You're" set

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Btw, 'common', when referred to a cultural phenomenon, commonly means mutual or shared by a large number of the population.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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