According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), children younger than sixteen accounted for twenty-three percent of pedestrians injured in traffic accidents in 2010. In addition, nearly twenty percent of all children between the ages of five and nine killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians. Kids are at special risk when crossing the street on the way to school in the morning because many drivers are hurrying to get to work at the same time.
Young children should cross the street with the help of an adult until they are at least ten years old. Before that, they are not developmentally ready to judge the speed or distance of an approaching vehicle. Parents should remind older children regularly of safe behavior when walking to school and crossing the street.
The following are some rules to help your child be a safe pedestrian:
- Cross the street at corners using crosswalks and traffic signals as much as possible. Most pedestrian accidents occur mid-block or somewhere other than the intersection.
- Stop, look and listen before crossing the street. Children should stop at the intersection and listen for cars. They should look left, right and left again before crossing. They should continue to look and listen as they cross the street.
- Walk across the street—do not run.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible. If there is no sidewalk, children should walk so they are facing oncoming traffic and stay as far to the left as possible.
- Remove headphones when crossing the street to listen for approaching vehicles.
- Make eye contact with approaching drivers before you step into the street.
- Stop walking if you need to use your phone.
In the United States, pedestrian accidents are a leading cause of injury or death to children under the age of sixteen. Teaching your child the pedestrian safety tips outlined above can help avoid a serious accident. If however, the worst happens and your child is seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Austin child injury attorney David Todd at the Todd Law Firm. The number is 512-472-7799 and the case review is free. Alternatively, you can download a free copy of his book How to Choose a Texas Car Wreck Lawyer for additional information.