As the new academic year begins, many metro area kids will resume walking to school each day. While walking is great exercise, it also puts people at risk for pedestrian injuries. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that young children face a particular risk, because they move quickly and are unaware of many dangers. The agency offers the following facts regarding injuries to preschoolers:
- “Most preschoolers are injured near their home or on their own street.
- Most crashes involving preschool children happen between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Most crashes involving preschoolers occur in fair and warm weather.
- Twice as many preschool boys are injured than preschool girls.”
Safe Kids Worldwide, the nonprofit childhood injury organization, recommends that parents teach their children the following pedestrian safety rules to prevent these kinds of accidental injuries:
- “Do not cross the street alone if you’re younger than age 10.
- Always try to walk on paths or sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk facing road traffic.
- Look both ways for danger before and while crossing the street.
- Walk, do not run, into the street.
- Dress in bright colors or wear retroreflective materials so drivers can easily see you.”
One of the best ways to teach children to be responsible pedestrians is to model safe behavior for them regularly. Remember these pedestrian safety tips from the NHTSA yourself, and you’ll avoid accidental injuries and model smart behavior, simultaneously:
- “Wear sturdy shoes that will give you proper footing.
- Use paths and sidewalks whenever available.
- Step out cautiously from behind parked cars and other objects that can obscure a driver’s view.
- Plan routes to avoid dangerous crossings.
- Stop and look for traffic in all directions before crossing the street, and look to the left, right, and left again — even on a one-way street.
- Don’t rely only on traffic signs and signals.
- Allow plenty of time to cross streets.
- Intersections are especially difficult for older pedestrians. Any pedestrian is most at risk when first stepping off the curb, because drivers may not see you until you’re actually in the roadway.
- Turning vehicles can be especially dangerous at intersections. Drivers are concentrating on making their turns and avoiding oncoming traffic, so they might not see you!”
Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
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