In 2012, there were 4,743 pedestrian accident fatalities nationwide; 5 percent of those were children, age 14 and younger. More than 20% of traffic fatalities involving children aged 14 and younger were pedestrians. When you consider that a pedestrian struck by a vehicle driving 40 mph has an 85 percent chance of death, you can see why children need to learn to cross the street safely. In fact, the majority of child pedestrian deaths and injuries are entirely preventable. Parents must not only be diligent about teaching their child how to safely cross the street; they must ensure that their child is never left alone before understanding the safety risks involved.
Street-Crossing Rules to Teach Your Child | Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents
Aside from being cognizant of your child’s abilities, you must also teach him or her the following rules:
- Always look both ways prior to crossing the street;
- Have your child hold your hand (or that of another adult) in parking lots and whenever crossing the street if possible;
- Never, ever chase something into the street, such as a ball or pet;
- If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street;
- Stay as far away from the street as possible when walking on a sidewalk, or when there is no sidewalk;
- Cross in a crosswalk when possible;
- Obey all crossing signals;
- Wear bright clothing—and reflective clothing at night; and
- Be extra careful when walking at night.
Model Safety for Your Children
One of the primary things parents can do is to serve as a role model to their children for safe street crossing. This means that, even when you are tempted to scurry across a road when the traffic signal says “don’t walk,” you instead wait until the sign says you can walk. Likewise, resist the temptation to cross anywhere except at a corner or in a designated crosswalk.
Stay back from the edge of the curb as you wait for the traffic light to change, then look both ways and listen carefully for oncoming traffic. Don’t wear headphones, and put away your phone when you are walking, and particularly when you are crossing the road. If you model good behaviors for your child, you have taken a very important first step in teaching him or her to be safe while walking.
Crossing the Street from a Child’s Perspective
There are two main variables children must contend with when they are attempting to safely cross a street. Those variables include perceptual ability—the skill of estimating the distance between vehicles for crossing, considering the speed and distance of the cars—and the child’s motor skills which allow the child to properly time the step-down from the curb’s edge into the street and then crossing only after the last vehicle passes. Younger children, in particular, have difficulty properly timing that step-down, resulting in less time to make it across the street. Crossing speed is generally not a factor, as children as young as six years of age appropriately can cross the street as quickly as an adult does.
Contact The Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Near Me
If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced Pennsylvania pedestrian accident lawyers at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you throughout the legal process.
The attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 90 years of experience representing injured accident victims and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties. We are also proud to serve injured accident victims throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today toll-free at 1-855-633-6251 or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.