GASTONIA, N.C. -- A Gastonia 3-year-old is recovering from serious injuries after being hit by a car that was backing out of a driveway.

The good news is the little boy is expected to live, but police say he has very serious facial injuries that will likely require surgery. Investigators say so far it looks like this was all just a tragic accident.

The call came in just after 5 p.m. Police say a 21-year-old accidently backed his car over his 3-year-old cousin.

“Apparently there was a number of children outside,” Sgt. Keith McCabe with the Gastonia police department explained Tuesday. “He had asked if all the kids were out of the way, he believed they were so he proceeded to back up and the right rear of the vehicle struck the child.”

“I could hear the parents crying and yelling and everything,” said Brittany Thomas, who witnessed the tragedy.

“His head was gashed open. I was really shocked and crying and I just had to walk away because it was really disturbing.”

Statistics show in the U.S., at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles every single week.

Only two months ago, a Charlotte father accidently ran over and killed his own 2-year-old son while backing out of the driveway.

“Kids can get away from parents and things like this do happen, unfortunately,” McCabe admitted.

Family members tell NBC Charlotte the little boy is turning 4 this week. They had a party planned for him this Saturday. Unfortunately, at this point, it’s not clear if he will be out of the hospital by then.