One reason that children so often suffer injuries as pedestrians is that they can be impulsive and therefore unpredictable and may dart into traffic unexpectedly.
In St. Petersburg on a Friday evening, early in November, around 6:45, an 8-year-old boy was playing tag with friends around several large parked trucks in the 200 block of 10th Street N. According to St. Petersburg police, the child darted into the street from behind one of the trucks and into the path of an oncoming car, which was traveling north. The front of the car, a Buick, hit the child, according to the police report, causing serious injuries. He was taken to All Children’s Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.
The driver was not charged in the accident, but was cited for driving with a suspended license.
STUDY FINDS EXPOSURE OF URBAN CHILDREN TO TRAFFIC OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL HOURS IS MAJOR RISK FACTOR
A study reported by the National Institutes of Health on the exposure of children living in urban settings to traffic found that 39 percent of the children regularly used the streets, and 64 percent regularly used the sidewalks as play areas, with a median number of 27 street crossings per week per child. There were no differences in the number of exposures for the 29 percent who were hit while playing compared with the 71 percent who were hit while walking. Although 84 percent of the children walked to or from school at least one day per week, only 15 percent of the children were struck walking to and from school. The remainder were injured either while playing outdoors or while walking to other places. Urban children who are at risk of becoming victims of pedestrian crashes are exposed to traffic in a number of ways related to their daily outdoor activities, including playing and crossing streets. The study full report on the study is available HERE.
Pedestrian safety programs to reduce traffic-related injuries to children might best focus on providing urban children with safe areas in which to play than the streets.