Children who are out of school for the summer enjoy a greater sense of freedom, playing on neighboring streets, hanging out with friends at nearby parks and fields, or going to the local store for snacks and ice cream. Unfortunately, this puts them at a greater risk for pedestrian accidents, which can result in serious and potentially life threatening personal injuries. The following offers important pedestrian safety for kids including how accidents commonly occur and what you can do as a parent to help keep your child safe.
Pedestrian Injuries Involving Children
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that while anyone can be a victim of pedestrian injuries, children and teenagers are at a greater risk. Getting hit by a car is the third most common cause of accident death among children under the age of 18 in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of severe and potentially disabling injuries. The NIH reports that the risks children face depend on their age:
- Under Four: Toddlers are more likely to suffer pedestrian injuries in driveways due to back over accidents involving parents, other family members, or neighbors.
- Between Four and 12: Preteens and adolescents are more likely to be hit by cars when crossing intersections or playing near traffic. They may lack the cognitive abilities to determine how fast a car may be traveling or to understand traffic patterns flowing in multiple directions. They are also more likely to act impulsively and may dart into traffic without looking to chase a ball or as part of a game.
- Between 12 and 18: Teens are susceptible to injuries when walking at night or in areas with poor visibility. Contributing factors include being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, being excessively fatigued, and being distracted by cellphones and texting.
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Kids
Decision making skills develop slowly over the lives of children as they grow. It is up to parents to guide them and to step in on situations where they may be incapable of making good choices for themselves. Safekids.org advises that children under the age of ten should not be allowed to cross streets without an adult present, and younger children should be supervised when playing anywhere near traffic or cars. Additional ways parents can help keep children safe include the following:
- Teach them to look left, then right, then left again before crossing streets
- Remind them to always use crosswalks when available
- Instruct them to make eye contact with drivers, and to never assume a car sees them
- Discourage them from using cellphones, headphones, and other devices when out walking
Get Help Today
In the event your child is injured in a pedestrian accident, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Request a free consultation with our South Carolina personal injury attorney to discuss how we can assist you in getting the compensation your child needs to recover.