Toddler, 2, killed after unbuckling child seat and falling out of moving 4×4

October 2, 2012 | by | 0 Comments
Levi Brailsford in the car seat from which he unbuckled himself and opened the door and died in an accident

Levi Brailsford in the car seat from which he unbuckled himself and opened the door and died in an accident

A toddler travelling in his grandmother’s car unbuckled his child safety seat and opened the door before falling to his death, an inquest heard.

Tragic Levi Brailsford, aged two, was travelling home in the back of a 4×4 driven by his gran Kathleen Medway.

Kathleen had stopped to offer Levi and his mum a lift and the toddler ran straight to the car and jumped in the back.

But after travelling just 120m he somehow managed to undo his three-point safety belt and crawled across the back seats, an inquest was told.

The youngster then managed to open the passenger door of the moving black Volvo and fell onto the road.

His grandmother heard the door open as she headed towards a roundabout but did not realise Levi had fallen out until she pulled over.

Levi sustained fatal head injuries as he hit the road during the incident in Bristol in May last year.

An inquest into Levi’s death at Avon Coroner’s Court heard how at first Mrs Medway did not realise the toddler had fallen from the vehicle.

Mrs Medway wept as she told the court how she heard the door open as she drove towards a roundabout.

She went round the roundabout and immediately pulled onto the pavement and saw the door was still ajar.

The scene of the tragic accident in which Levi died

The scene of the tragic accident in which Levi died

She said: “As I was driving down towards the roundabout I heard the door go.

“I didn’t shout or anything I thought that if I did shout it would make him jump so I just kept going round very, very slowly and bumped up on to the pavement thinking I would be ok.

“But as I pulled on to the pavement in my mirror I saw the door fall open. I didn’t think anything of it, just that the door had opened in the manoeuvre.

“I go out and pushed it slightly closed and then suddenly saw him on the floor. Then I screamed.”

The inquest heard how Mrs Medway was returning from a shopping trip when she saw daughter Andrea, 29, struggling with Levi as they walked near their home in Bristol.

Mrs Medway, a grandmother-of-ten, pulled over and waited to help the family back to their house nearby.

Levi recognised the car and ran straight to it – climbing in through the open front passenger door and into the back where his child seat was located.

Mrs Medway offered to take him home to give Andrea a break and leaned across to buckle him in.

But the inquest was told that at some point during the 120 metre journey, Levi unbuckled his belt and clambered across the seat towards the rear offside passenger door.

A photograph of Levi when he was a baby. He was killed while travelling in his grandmother's car

A photograph of Levi when he was a baby. He was killed while travelling in his grandmother’s car

One of the messages of condolence left on a teddy bear at the spot where the child died

One of the messages of condolence left on a teddy bear at the spot where the child died

Dozens of floral tributes at the spot where Levi fell out of the 4x4 he had unbuckled himself from

Dozens of floral tributes at the spot where Levi fell out of the 4×4 he had unbuckled himself from

He managed to open the door – which was not child locked – and tumbled out on to the road.

Witness Sean Whittle, a passenger in the car behind Mrs Medway’s, who was travelling with friend William Roach, gave a written statement to the inquest.

Mr Whittle said he saw the door to Mrs Medway’s black Volvo 4×4 swing open and an object fall out of the car.

He said: “I saw the rear off-side passenger door was open and I saw an object tumble out of the car.

“I was horrified to see the object was a young child.His little body crumpled into the roadside. The car stopped very quickly, it wasn’t going that fast.”

Mr Whittle and Mr Roach then rushed to help little Levi – who was bleeding heavily from his head – and his “hysterical” grandmother.

Mr Whittle described how Mrs Medway screamed: “What have I done? Oh my God I killed our Levi”.

An air ambulance crew was scrambled to the scene and the toddler was rushed to nearby Frenchay Hospital but he died later from his injuries.

In a written statement Levi’s devastated mum, Andrea, described the four-year-old as a ‘very active, troublesome but loveable’ child.

She also said she he was a dextrous and quick learner and she had witnessed him un-do his child safety belt before.

Recording a verdict of accidental death coroner Maria Voisin said: “At approximately 3.07pm on May 11 2012 Levi was the passenger in his grandmother’s car.

“During the journey he managed to get out of his child seat, pull the rear internal handle and as it opened sadly Levi has fallen, or has been pulled, from the car.”

After the inquest Christine Brailsford, 50, Levi’s other grandmother, said that this was a tragic accident she would not wish anybody else to go through.

She said: “This is a tragic accident and we don’t want anybody else to go through what we have gone through.

“It is just horrible losing a life like we have lost. He was two years and two months, it is such a tragic loss.

“He was just one in a million. He was only here for two years but he has left us a lifetime of memories.

“He was our loveable one. Naughty but loveable.”

Following the accident Christine has begun a campaign to make child locks on all doors compulsory when carrying children.

Verdict: Accidental Death

Category: News

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