Pedestrian accidents claim the lives of many minors and children, and cause a host of injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious lifelong injuries. Since children are likely to be on foot, and since they often do not show the same alertness and awareness of cars around them as adults do, they’re more likely to be in a pedestrian accident. Because of their relatively small size and weight, they’re more likely to suffer fatal or serious injuries as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle.
According to USA Safekids.org, 599 pedestrian fatalities in 2002 involved children 14 years of age and younger. Almost 38,400 children ages 14 and under suffered pedestrian accident injuries that required hospital emergency treatment in 2003. USA Safekids.org reports that there are several things that parents can do to reduce childhood pedestrian accidents:
1) Teach children to be alert in areas where pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur. USA Safekids.org reports that children who are 14 years of age and under are more likely to be in a pedestrian accident in areas with no divided highways, high volume traffic, , a high number of parked vehicles on the street, and higher posted speed limits. Children should be supervised in such areas and should be taught to identify and show greater caution in such areas.
2) Have children play in areas far from roads. According to USA Safekids.org, children are more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents in areas where road traffic is nearby.
3) Petition your local government for pedestrian-control devices in areas where children walk – and encourage your child to properly use these devices where they exist. USA Safekids.org reports that areas with few such devices experience higher numbers of pedestrian accidents involving minors.
4) Supervise children even in residential areas and in areas that seem safe. USA Safekids.org reports that child pedestrian injuries are in fact more likely to take place in residential areas and straight, paved, and dry local roads. Children ages 4 and under should be supervised at all times near traffic, since this age group has the highest risk from child pedestrian death.
5) Teach children how to cross a sidewalk and how to enter a driveway safely. According to USA Safekids.org, almost 10% of child pedestrian injuries occur in driveways, usually when a vehicle is backing up. Teach children how to identify when a vehicle is backing up and show children where blind spots on a vehicle are.