We understand that pedestrian safety for kids is an important concern for parents and guardians, especially when it comes to ensuring that their children are safe while walking or playing near roads. At our firm, we believe that educating parents and kids on how to stay safe is essential to preventing accidents and injuries.
As a parent, one of your biggest concerns is the safety of your children. And while you may be aware of the risks associated with letting your kids roam around outside on their own, it can be challenging to keep them cooped up inside all day. However, with the right precautions and education, you can significantly reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents for your children. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about pedestrian safety for kids, including tips, strategies, and best practices.
Why is Pedestrian Safety for Kids Important?
Pedestrian safety is an important issue for kids because children are more vulnerable than adults to accidents on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians under the age of 14 accounted for 18% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2018. This highlights the need for parents to take necessary precautions to protect their kids.
Before we dive into the tips and strategies for keeping your kids safe, let’s take a moment to discuss why pedestrian safety is essential for children. Here are some key reasons:
- Children are at a higher risk of being involved in pedestrian accidents than adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 5-14 are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related injuries.
- Pedestrian accidents can result in serious injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, and even death. In fact, pedestrian accidents are the third leading cause of injury-related death in children ages 5-14.
- Teaching your kids about pedestrian safety can help them develop lifelong habits that will keep them safe on foot for years to come.
With those factors in mind, let’s explore some tips for keeping your kids safe on foot.
Tips for Pedestrian Safety for Kids
- Use Sidewalks: Encourage your children to walk on sidewalks or footpaths where possible. If there are no sidewalks, they should walk facing the oncoming traffic. Children should never jaywalk across streets.
- Cross at Crosswalks: Always cross the street at designated crosswalks, and teach your kids to look both ways before crossing. Make sure they understand that crosswalks are there to keep them safe.
- Wear Bright or Reflective Clothing: Make sure your kids wear bright or reflective clothing when they are walking near roads, especially at night. This makes them more visible to drivers.
- Avoid Distractions: Teach your kids to avoid distractions like playing with their phone or listening to music while walking. They need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
- Hold Hands: For younger children, hold their hand when crossing the street or walking near roads. This keeps them close and reduces the risk of accidents.
- Follow Traffic Signals: Teach your kids to obey traffic signals, such as stop signs and traffic lights. They should also look out for turning cars and make sure the driver sees them before crossing.
- Stay Alert: Encourage your kids to stay alert when walking or playing near roads. They should be aware of the sounds of approaching cars and look out for any potential hazards.
Discourage walking alone
Safety in numbers applies to pedestrians, especially children. Your child’s risks of a pedestrian collision decline when your child walks in a group. A larger group of children is more visible to drivers and bicyclists than a single child. A car is also less likely to try to drive around a group of children than a single child in a crosswalk. If your child walks to school or other destinations, send with a group of friends or peers. Children ten and under should always walk and cross streets with an adult. Older children and teens should walk in groups as much as possible.
Explain roadway rules to your children
Children are not always able to cross streets with an adult or a group. You should also teach your child how to follow the rules of the road for pedestrian safety. Children need to learn at an early age where it is safety to cross a street and how to use traffic and crosswalk signs to avoid an accident. Pedestrian collisions involving kids often occur when they dart out into the road or cross where they do not have the right of way.
Help your children understand the danger of walking into oncoming traffic. Explain basic roadway rules, including:
- Using a sidewalk when available
- Crossing at crosswalks
- Never jaywalk
- Wait for traffic signals
- Look both ways before crossing a street
The better your child understands how to safety navigate the road, the less chance he or she will run into the road or cross at unsafe points. Set a good example by always obeying pedestrian traffic rules when walking with your children.
Children face an increased risk of injury due to pedestrian distractions like phones and headphones. Even walking in a group, your child can be distracted by other children. A distracted child or teen is at greater risk of impact by a car by failing to avoid an oncoming danger or crossing a street without the right of way. It is important to educate your child on these dangers caused by common pedestrian distractions. Too many motorists are negligent and some even assume a pedestrian will stop and let a car pass even if the pedestrian has the right of way. Your child should avoid all distractions when walking on or across a road.
Increase child visibility
As personal injury attorneys, we often hear drivers insist a pedestrian-vehicle collision was caused by the pedestrian that they never saw or “came out of nowhere” insisting they are not responsible for the accident. Another way to reduce the likelihood of pedestrian injuries is to have your child wear high visibility clothes and gear. Bright colors and reflectors can help make a pedestrian more noticeable, especially at night or in the early morning. A bright shirt or reflectors on a backpack can be the difference between a driver stopping and a crash.
Another way to increase visibility is to make sure your child knows to cross at sidewalks, try to be visible on sidewalks and follow traffic laws. Drivers are more likely to stop and avoid a collision at a crosswalk and when using pedestrian crossing signals. Children who run between cars or jaywalk are at greater risk of a driver claiming they ran out of nowhere.
What to do if your child is hit by a car as a pedestrian
Pedestrian collisions often cause serious bodily injuries and even death. Children are especially vulnerable to these collisions due to their size, lack of knowledge about traffic safety and the vulnerable state of their young bodies. By taking all reasonable precautions, your child can increase their safety as a pedestrian and reduce the likelihood of injury. If your child is hit by a car, your first priority is taking care of their health. You should contact our experienced Denver pedestrian accident attorneys as soon as possible to discuss the case. Pedestrian accident cases are often more complex due to the severity of injuries and drivers blaming pedestrians for the collision. Our attorneys are experienced with pedestrian accidents involving children. You can speak with an attorney today at no cost or obligation about your child’s case.