OTTAWA - An Ottawa area family is grieving tonight after their 5-year-old son was killed in a collision with a moose.

Their 2-year-old daughter is in critical but stable condition.  Three other family members are traumatized but otherwise uninjured.The family struck the moose on a return trip to West Quebec yesterday afternoon.

It was mid-afternoon, broad daylight; an unusual, but sadly, deadly encounter with the 500-kilogram animal.

Sunday was a day much like today; sunny and bright.  It was two o'clock in the afternoon; right here Highway 323 on the road towards Mont Tremblant.  A mother and father were driving in a KIA Sedona, returning to the Ottawa area  with three children in the back when a fun afternoon outing turned tragic.

The moose was initially hit by someone driving a Toyota RAV4.  That person was uninjured but the moose flew across the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle with that family of five inside.

“One little boy, a 5-year-old was sent to hospital where he was pronounced dead,” explains Sergeant Marc Tessier with the Sureté du Québec, “and we have a 2-year-old girl in critical condition but stable.”

An 8-year-old boy wasn't hurt; the two adults had minor injuries but were in shock as a result of the crash.  First responders tried valiantly to save the little boy.

“They tried to do maneuvers on the little boy,” says Tessier, “Paramedics took over and maneuvers were done until he was sent to the hospital.”

Tessier says it's not unusual to see deer in this area but not moose, especially in the afternoon. 

Wildlife experts say drivers can try to minimize the risk of hitting a moose by avoiding driving during high risk times, just before dusk and right after dawn.  Drivers should constantly scan their surroundings and if they encounter a moose on the road, they recommend aiming for the flank or rear of the animal.

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation says in 2016 there were 11, 676 collisions, some fatal, involving wildlife on our roads. 444 of them were in the Ottawa area.

Moose collisions are on the rise across this country.  And they're particularly dangerous to hit with 600 pound bodies on spindly legs.  Wildlife experts say to heed those moose and deer signs and drive slower at night so you have time to react.