Record Number Of Kids Seen After Being Hit By Cars
Cook Children’s Trauma expert says kids should wait until they are at least 10 before crossing the street
Already this month, eight kids have been brought to Cook Children’s after getting hit by a car, including one child who died.
From May 1 to 15, six children were admitted to Cook Children’s and two were treated and released from the Emergency Department. Last month, nine kids were admitted to Cook Children’s. Seven were admitted and two were treated and released.
Maybe it’s distracted drivers or maybe it’s the nicer weather. Regardless, it’s up to adults to keep an eye out for children walking or riding their bikes outside and not the other way around.
“We’ve never seen numbers like we have so far and it’s not even the summer time, when more kids will be outside playing. Children do not have the cognitive skills to be crossing streets safely alone until at least age 10,” said Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention outreach coordinator at Cook Children’s. “They haven’t yet developed the depth perception or the ability to maturely judge the speed of an object.”
Kids age 10 and younger should not walk or ride bicycles, scooters or skateboards alone because they:
- Are easily distracted by friends and toys.
- Can’t determine the direction of sounds. Some children may be listening for sounds and may not realize that some newer model electric/hybrid may not make much of a sound at all.
- Can’t judge the speed or distance of a moving vehicle.
- Don’t understand how long it takes a vehicle to stop.
- Have too narrow a field of vision.
Even when kids reach age 10, it’s still best for parents to accompany them across the street, or to school whenever possible.
Teaching Your Child Pedestrian Safety
“When I visit children who have suffered pedestrian injuries, the most common thing they tell me is that they thought the driver saw them,” explained Evans. “It’s important to teach your children that just because they see a driver, it doesn’t mean the driver sees them. They need to make eye contact with the driver and wait for the driver to stop and signal to them before attempting to cross the street.”
While teaching your children to ride their bikes or walk outside, don’t forget to tell them to cross only at crosswalks; look left, right and then left again; and to watch for cars that are turning or backing up. The best way to teach your child pedestrian and bike safety is to be a good role model yourself. It’s also a good idea to encourage your children to wear bright clothing and reflectors when they’re walking before dawn or after dusk.
"It’s important for parents to remember they are the most important models of proper pedestrian behavior for children," said Dana Walraven, Community Health Outreach manager at Cook Children’s and Safe Kids Tarrant County Coordinator. "Parents should also make sure they follow the rules when they are driving in school zones, including going the speed limit at all times through the zone and not texting or talking on the phone."
Safe Kids recommend teaching your kids these safe behaviors:
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Cross when the street is clear, and keep looking both ways while crossing. Walk, don’t run.
- Understand and obey traffic signals and signs.
- Walk facing traffic, on sidewalks or paths, so that you can see oncoming cars. If there are no sidewalks, walk as far to the left as possible.
- Require children to carry a flashlight at night, dawn and dusk. Add retro-reflective materials to children’s clothing so that a child can be seen by motorists, even in the dark.
- Don’t let kids play in driveways, unfenced yards, streets or parking lots. Drivers may not see or anticipate children playing.