YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Drivers in Youngstown spotted a toddler walking on the sidewalk near a busy street in Youngstown Friday — one of several similar situations reported in the area recently.
This time it happened on Belmont Avenue in the area of Foster Avenue and Fairgreen Street — about two blocks from Delaware Avenue where the 2-year-old lives.
Youngstown police are trying piece together why the toddler was walking along the road all alone.
The little boy left his home and walked down Belmont Avenue toward St. Elizabeth Health Center. He was stopped in front of the Dollar General, where bystanders called 911.
“We were at our church and we saw a little boy run down the street. He ran to the Dollar General store and by the time we got back out of the church, someone had stopped him and called police,” said Charles Pegues, who witnessed the incident.
Young children wandering from home seems to be a common occurrence as of late.
Tuesday morning, another 2-year-old walked to the Struthers Dunkin’ Donuts while his mom was doing some spring cleaning. Later that day in Austintown, a little girl was spotted by herself near an apartment complex.
Jennifer Kollar, with Mahoning County Children Services, said they typically don’t see this many cases of kids wandering off this close together. She said responding to three of those cases in one week is “unusual.”
Police said Friday’s instance happened because of a miscommunication over who was supposed to be watching the child.
“Really need to be attentive. They need to be vigilant, know where your child is at all times, know what their behaviors are, know what their tendencies are, know what their capabilities are,” Kollar said.
Officials said other cases this week have been more severe.
“Of course, substance abuse has been playing a big part in some of these cases as well,” Kollar said. “Children are left unattended, unsupervised, which then leads them to wander in their neighborhoods.”