Children are at an increased risk for pedestrian injury and death because the traffic rules and risks often exceed their cognitive, developmental, behavioral, physical, and sensory abilities, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. In addition, parents and caregivers often overestimate their child's traffic skills.
One specific age group, ages 1 to 2, is at increased risk for non-traffic related pedestrian injuries, such as when a car backs up in the driveway, parking lot, or on sidewalks.
Unfortunately, injuries sustained by child pedestrians are often severe.
Where do most child pedestrian injuries and deaths occur?Many child pedestrian deaths occur in the evenings when visibility may be reduced. Areas that pose an increased risk of injury or death as a child pedestrian, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, include the following:
- high traffic areas
- areas with a high number of parked vehicles on street
- areas with higher posted speed limits
- areas with no divided highways
- areas with few pedestrian-control devices, such as crosswalk signals
- locations that lack designated play areas
- residential areas
- straight, paved, dry roads
How do I keep my child safe as a pedestrian?To help prevent your child from getting hurt as a pedestrian, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends the following tips:
- Children under age 10 should not be allowed to cross streets by themselves.
- Teach proper pedestrian behavior by modeling pedestrian behavior correctly, such as crossing at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks when available, and making eye contact with drivers before crossing.
- Teach children to look LEFT, RIGHT, and then LEFT again when crossing a street, and to continue looking around when crossing.
- Teach children that seeing the driver in a vehicle 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 with no sidewalks, teach children to walk facing oncoming traffic, as far left as possible.
- At dawn and dusk, children should wear retroreflective materials and carry flashlights.
- Teach children 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 where the school bus loads and unloads.
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.