A 3-year-old girl was fatally injured when she wandered behind the car her mother was driving and was struck in the family's driveway at Fort Detrick in Frederick, military authorities said yesterday.
The girl, Vada Schoon, walked out of the house Wednesday while her mother was repositioning her Ford Escape, said Chuck Dasey, a Fort Detrick spokesman.
She suffered severe head injuries in the accident and was treated at the scene by emergency medical technicians, then taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The girl's parents are Master at Arms 1st Class Jack Schoon, 31, who works at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda; and Jessica Schoon, 24.
The family, which also includes an 18-month-old son, had been living in new housing at Fort Detrick - which is open to military personnel not assigned to the base - for two months. The military is providing support services for the family and for friends and neighbors.
"There was quite a bit of pain over this among all the people who live here," Dasey said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three of every 100,000 children younger than 10 are hit by cars traveling in reverse and are treated in emergency departments, said N. Clay Mann, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Mann recently completed a study that found that children are more likely to be struck by a van or a truck than by a car. His research also found that children hit by vehicles with high rear-window ledges, including sport utility vehicles, minivans and pickup trucks, are more likely to require hospitalization, surgery and treatment in an intensive care unit than are children backed over by standard cars.
Federal legislation that would, among other things, require automobile manufacturers to add features to make it easier for drivers to see behind them is pending in the Senate and the House.