Please, all of you -- be careful out there! I just heard some tragic news: An Oklahoma boy died at a 4th of July parade. According to police, he was riding on a martial arts group's float at Edmond's LibertyFest. At some point he either fell or jumped off. Then the truck and trailer, which was loaded with bales of hay, struck him. Unfortunately, the driver couldn't see the boy and ran over him. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police Officer James Hamm says the driver was not being reckless or violating laws. "It's just a freak, unfortunate accident." I'm sure that's cold comfort for the boy's parents and loved ones, though. The 4th of July will never be the same for them.
Apparently the boy was about seven or eight years old. Beyond that, we don't know anything else about him -- his name has not been released. That age range is tricky. Kids are old enough to move about independently. They are not going to ride a float holding your hand the whole time. But they're still young enough to be impulsive and misjudge the safety of a situation.
It makes me wonder what the float itself looked like if it was that easy for the boy to jump or fall off. Were there no barriers around it? That wouldn't be surprising in a local parade. But if you've got children riding, I think there should be some kind of railing or protection -- even for sensible, older kids. The truck could break suddenly, causing people to lose their balance.
But we don't know anything about the float or the circumstances of the accident. And shoulda-woulda-couldas come cheap after an accident like this. Most of all, I feel for the boy's family -- my heart breaks for their loss.
Do you feel most parade floats are safe enough for kids to ride?
Image via Bob n' Renee/Flickr