What Does Success Look Like To You?

How parents can protect their children from pedestrian crashes

Pedestrian crashes are a concern for anyone who walks on or near public roads, but children are at particularly high risk. They may fail to properly monitor their surroundings and are more difficult for drivers to spot in traffic.

Children crossing the street might step right out in front of oncoming traffic, and a child playing basketball might chase an errant ball out into the road with tragic consequences. Even walking to school can endanger older and usually responsible children.

How can parents keep their children safe when they walk or play near motor vehicles?

Teach road safety basics

A child is never too young to learn about the risk inherent in walking near vehicles. Parents can protect children from life-altering injuries and death by teaching them to always prioritize personal safety when they enter a street. Whether a child needs to cross the road to get to school or needs to retrieve a ball, they should know to look both ways before entering the street, even on routes that they travel to school every day. Parents may even want to teach children to assume that vehicles cannot see them so that they wait instead of stepping out when they could be at risk.

Prioritize safe locations

If a child walks to school or back home after class, parents can potentially plan a route that takes them along streets with lower speed limits and less overall traffic. Teaching children to cross at marked locations and to comply with traffic lights can also help them stay a bit safer. Drivers are more likely to look for pedestrians near intersections and at marked crosswalks, making them a better place for children to enter the street.

Point out the danger of driveways and parking lots

Some of the worst pedestrian crashes occur at the ends of driveways and in the parking lots of businesses. Drivers who don’t properly monitor their surroundings could easily overlook children, especially when the drivers are in large vehicles. Teaching children to be very aware of their surroundings when they cross driveways or walk through parking lots could potentially save their lives. Parents should also ensure that their children know how to respond if they or someone they know gets hurt, including calling for emergency medical care as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, no amount of education can protect children completely from the risk of a pedestrian crash that comes from the bad choices of others. However, parents who ensure that their children understand the possibility of a pedestrian crash may feel more comfortable about letting their children go out to play or walk to school.