Although child pedestrian deaths have been on the decline since 1995, there are still approximately 630 child pedestrian deaths and 39,000 child pedestrian injuries every year. Pedestrian injuries are most common among children five to nine years in age. These pedestrian accidents are most commonly caused by children dashing or darting unexpectedly into traffic or an intersection.
Injuries and deaths among child pedestrians under the age of two most commonly occur in streets, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks. Deaths are often caused by an incident in which the small child is killed by a vehicle that is backing up.
There are numerous commonalities among child pedestrian injuries and deaths. Some of these include the following:
- 83 percent of injuries occur at a non-intersection locations
- 25 percent of pedestrian deaths occur between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Approximately two-thirds of child pedestrian fatalities are males
Education Key to Prevention
Children are at a higher risk for injury by motor vehicles because they lack the maturity level, and therefore the ability and experience, to understand the speed at which surrounding vehicles are moving. However, there are ways to encourage safety and educate your children to keep these types of incidents from occurring. Some safety tips that you can discuss with your children include the following:
- Always cross the street at an intersection
- When crossing the street, look left, right and left again before proceeding
- When stepping off of the bus or out from behind parked cars, always look for traffic
- Make eye contact with the driver of a car before crossing the street
- Teach your children what reverse lights look like so they are always aware of cars in reverse that may not see them
It is important to ensure children are aware of the above tips. There are also a variety of local organizations that provide information and resources aimed at reducing child pedestrian accidents in Colorado.
Hopefully, by taking steps to better educate children about road safety, the number of child pedestrian deaths and injuries will continue to decrease in the future.