Each year, approximately 626 child-pedestrian fatalities occur. Young children are at a higher risk for pedestrian injury and death because they don’t understand traffic rules and risks. In addition, parents and caregivers often overestimate their children’s traffic knowledge and skills. The maturity level of children younger than 10 years makes them unable to correctly gauge the speed of vehicles putting them at greater risk for injury and death.
When and where do most child-pedestrian injuries and deaths occur?
Children ages 0-2 years suffer the highest number of injuries as pedestrians, while in the street, on driveways, parking lots and sidewalks. Many child-pedestrian deaths occur in the evening when visibility is reduced. In addition, the following may put young children at a higher risk for injury or death in high-traffic areas:
- Streets with higher posted speed limits
- Streets with many parked cars
- Areas with highways that are not divided
- Streets without crosswalk signals
- Locations that lack designated play areas
- Residential neighborhoods
- Straight, paved, dry roads
How do I keep my child safe as a pedestrian?
To help prevent your child from getting injured as a pedestrian, here are some tips:
- Children younger than 10 years should not cross streets by themselves.
- Model correct pedestrian behavior by crossing at street corners and following traffic signals.
- Teach children to look LEFT, RIGHT and then LEFT again before crossing a street, and to continue looking around when crossing.
- Explain to your child that just because they can see the person driving the car, it does not mean the driver can see them.
- Never allow children to run into the street.
- Do not allow children to play in driveways, unfenced yards, streets or parking lots.
- When walking along a street without sidewalks, teach your child to walk facing oncoming traffic, as far to the left as possible.
- At dawn and dusk, your child should wear reflective materials and carry a flashlight.
- Teach your child to cross the street at least 10 feet away from the front of a school bus.
- Children should wait for adults on the same side of the street where the school bus drops them off.