Each year in the U.S. more than 13,000 children between the age of five and nine are struck and injured by cars while crossing the street. This is an astounding number. You have to wonder how this could happen.
The Wall Street Journal reported on a study in Accident Analysis and Prevention that children as young as six to seven years of age do not have the perceptual tools of slightly older children to pick up important pedestrian safety cues (March 19, 2013 edition). These cues included such things older children and adults recognize immediately, like tire sounds and engine noise. Testing showed older children (ages ten and up) detected an approaching car while it was much further away. Older kids were also much better at perceiving when a car had arrived at their location.
These findings are critical, not only for parents and caregivers, but for all of us as drivers. Drivers, use caution! Look both ways for walkers and bike riders. Avoid all distractions that take your eyes off the road. More children are playing, riding bicycles and enjoying the freedom of summer vacation, please be aware and help keep kids safe.
Here are some safety reminders from www.safekids.org for parents to use with their children.
Top Pedestrian Safety Tips for Kids
- Children under 10 years old should cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.
- Talk to your kids about how to be safe and aware while walking.
- Tell kids to look left, right and left again when crossing the street. Teach them to never run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
- It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections.