Pedestrian accidents have the potential to lead to life changing and catastrophic injuries. Pedestrian safety requires that children and young adults have safe places to play and walk, know how to use caution when crossing streets and are appropriately supervised when playing in the vicinity of traffic. According to research completed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2008, more than 4,300 pedestrians were killed and 200 of them were children ages 14 and younger.
Approximately 43% of youth pedestrian fatalities happen between the hours of 4 pm and 8 pm, and 13,000 of the 69,000 pedestrians injured across the country were ages 14 and younger. Strategies for improving pedestrian safety for children include:
- Better lighting
- Providing safe places for children to play and walk
- Traffic calming techniques
- Clear sidewalks including snow removal in the winters so pedestrians do not have to walk in the street.
Because of the lack of protection afforded to a pedestrian and the developmental issues tied to children, being struck by a vehicle can have detrimental consequences for a child's ability to continue growing in a healthy manner. Many children who are involved in pedestrian accidents are struck because someone was not paying attention or was engaged in reckless or negligent behavior.What to Do After a Pedestrian Accident Involving a Child
When an accident occurs, the child may suffer injuries that affect his or her family for many years to come. In addition to having to take medication, going through revision surgery and physical rehabilitation, there are financial and emotional consequences of pedestrian accidents as well. If a driver was not paying attention or was breaking the law at the time the accident occurred, the child and his or her family may never be the same as a result of the incident.
Just a couple of seconds in a pedestrian accident can be catastrophic. The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur over the weekend, and Halloween and January 1st are the two most deadly days of the year for pedestrians. While parents can do everything in their power to educate their children about crossing the street safely, this does not always prevent every accident.
Accidents can happen in any location but rural roads and small neighborhoods can lead to unexpected and devastating accidents and injuries. No parent should have to go through the situation of watching his or her child recover or pass away as a result of accidental injuries and yet this situation is all too common.Tips for Preventing Pedestrian Accidents
Where possible, as a parent it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to educate your children about the necessary steps to protect themselves out on the road. This includes:
- Encouraging them to always use the crosswalks when going to and from school
- Holding their hands or keeping a hold on their backpack when crossing with them
- Appointing an older sibling to help the younger sibling's get to and from location safely
- Being aware of the areas in which the children play and putting up fences or other barriers that help to prevent them from going into the street or being too close to situations in which they could be injured in a pedestrian accident.
- Notifying the police or the legislators of areas in which people tend to speed or not pay attention through neighborhoods that could endanger children at risk of a pedestrian accident.
- Always appointing one adult to keep an eye on children playing outside or near the street, particularly on the weekends or during the summer.
All of these situations can help to reduce the severity and occurrence of pedestrian accidents but far too many parents will still find themselves in the situation of having to help their loved ones recover after a critical injury. Pedestrian accidents can lead to repercussions that have lasting effects for the child and for the other family members involved, taking a toll physically, emotionally, and financially.