Pedestrian injury remains a leading cause of unintentional-injury related death among children between the ages of 5 and 14.
Young children are at a higher risk for pedestrian injury and death because they don't have the ability to understand traffic rules and risks. In addition, parents and caregivers often overestimate their child's knowledge and skills.
Children ages 1 to 2 are more likely to be involved in other pedestrian injuries, such as when someone backs up in a driveway, or does not see the child behind them.
Unfortunately, child pedestrian injuries are often very serious.
Where do most child pedestrian injuries and deaths occur?
Many child pedestrian deaths occur in the evening when visibility is reduced. Forty-two percent of child pedestrians who are struck by cars are hit between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. Almost two thirds of the child pedestrian fatalities occur on rural roadways. The months of May and October have the highest number of child pedestrian deaths. In addition, the following situations may put young children at increased risk for injury or death:
- high traffic areas
- streets with many parked cars
- streets with higher speed limits
- 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?
Follow these recommendations to help prevent your child from getting hurt as a pedestrian:
- Children under age 10 should not cross streets by themselves.
- Teach correct pedestrian behavior by crossing at street corners, following traffic signals, and crosswalks when available.
- Teach children to look LEFT, RIGHT, and then LEFT again before crossing a street, and to continue looking over the shoulder for cars when crossing.
- Explain to your child that just because they can see the person driving a car, it does not mean that 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 children 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 in front of a school bus.
- Children should wait for adults on the same side of the street that the school bus drops them off.
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