Summer is in full swing, and that means kids are out enjoying their summer vacation. As they run, bike, and play, remind them to be safe near streets to avoid pedestrian accidents and keep them safe.
Summer is a great time for kids to play outside and be active. But that puts them close to roads and at risk of a pedestrian accident. If children aren’t taught to be careful around streets and traffic they can be seriously hurt or even killed.
236 children were killed in pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles in 2013. That’s over one fifth of all the pedestrian fatalities that year. Another 10,000 children were hurt in crashes with cars.
When pedestrians accidents happen they are often very serious. Pedestrians don’t have the same steel shielding or airbag safety devices to protect them in a crash. That means their bodies take the full force of the impact. That means pedestrian accidents often result in very serious injuries, including brain injury.
One good way to prevent childhood pedestrian accidents is to understand when and where they happen. Most child pedestrian accidents happen in the afternoon and evening – when playful kids run up against the higher traffic volumes of the evening rush hour.
Almost all kids’ pedestrian accidents (81 percent) happen away from intersections. Motorists may not notice when children cut out from between cars or are playing in the streets. That’s why it is very important to teach children early to always use marked crosswalks to cross the street.
The good news is that the number of kids’ pedestrian accidents has dropped by more than a third since 2004. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association and other concerned organizations have created resources for teachers and parents to teach kids pedestrian safety. As early as kindergarten, students in schools using this curriculum are taught to use sidewalks and crosswalks, to face traffic, and to watch out for driveways.
But these lessons can easily be forgotten in the heat of summer play. Parents should always supervise their children during outdoor play. Remind your kids often to stay back from streets and play in protected areas. Walk with them if they do need to cross the road to retrieve balls or visit friends. Teach them good habits of crossing at intersections and watching for traffic.
Parents are the front line to prevent kids’ pedestrian accidents this summer. By reinforcing the lessons learned in class and properly supervising children playing outside, you can keep your kids safe and protect them from very serious injuries.
David Christensen is a pedestrian accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team represents pedestrians struck by motor vehicles and makes sure all their needs are met so they can focus on recovery. If you or someone you love have been hit by a car, contact Christensen Law for a free consultation.