And Finally

Dangerous driving

Grandpa gets new van after kid falls out of car

Carseat w

It’s often said that kids are resilient. A recent video from Jiangsu province proves just how true that is.

Recorded on the dashboard camera of a local couple’s car, the now viral video shows a two and half year-old boy falling out of the back of a van as the driver pulls away from a junction and the van’s back door swings open.

The toddler, dressed in a red padded jacket, falls onto the highway, but amazingly he picks himself up and starts stumbling after his oblivious grandpa, who is driving the van.

The scene is reminiscent of the 2011 case of Wang Yue, a little girl from Foshan, who died after being run over multiple times in a busy marketplace. Almost 20 people walked past her without offering help. The video caused outrage at the time and was held up as proof that Chinese society had become morally apathetic (see WiC127).

The tale of the kid who fell out of the van, however, has a much happier ending.

The couple whose dash-cam filmed the incident pulled over to pick the boy up and return him to Yang Defu, the grandpa, at the next crossing 100 metres away. Yang later explained that he had to look after the infant because the boy’s father worked in a factory and his mother was sick. The back door flew open because the van had been rear-ended some weeks before and he didn’t have the Rmb400 ($61) to pay for the repairs.

Yang originally placed the boy in the front passenger seat, but hadn’t noticed he’d climbed through to the back. “If it wasn’t for the couple who stopped the consequences would be unthinkable,” he told a local TV station.

The video renewed a debate on child safety on China’s roads. More than 18,000 children under the age of 14 die from traffic accidents every year in China, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A recent survey showed only 12% of Chinese children use protective car seats. Some cities like Shanghai have introduced a law mandating them but as yet there is no national legislation, partly because it wouldn’t protect the millions of kids who are still transported on scooters and motorbikes,  and partly because many vehicles, like Yang’s, are often dual use – i.e. used for transporting goods as well as people.

After seeing the video of the episode (viewed 240 million times on weibo), DOD, the Taiwanese maker of the dash-cam that filmed the incident, tracked Yang down to offer him a free car seat. But on seeing how impoverished he was they offered him a new van as well. According to Yangtze Evening Post, the Shenzhen-based company also gave a new dashboard camera to the couple. Meanwhile, the minivan maker Wuling, a joint venture between General Motors and SAIC, has been getting some criticism on social media though Yang has vowed to repair his new car immediately if it gets damaged in future.

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