3 Kids Hit By Cars In Separate Accidents Sent to PICU
Safety expert gives tips on making sure kids are safe outside during the summer
The summer means more kids are outside playing, biking or running around. Sadly, it also means more opportunity for danger.
Over the course of a week, there were three different auto pedestrian injuries, where a child was hit by a car and ended up in Cook Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
Once the school year ends, Sharon Evans, Trauma Injury Prevention coordinator, calls this time of year “the 100 deadly days of summer” because kids are so much at risk. They are spending more time on their own or with friends and often times without adult supervision.
"Kids are out because they are playing with their friends, going to the ice cream truck or riding their bike. In other words, it’s just kids being kids. But that’s also when children are getting hurt," Evans said. “We are asking parents to make sure their child knows how to cross the street, mainly that they wait until the driver actually motions to them to cross the road. Just because you think the driver is looking at you doesn’t actually mean they ‘see’ you.' These days everyone is so busy or distracted, even while behind the wheel, you can’t take anything for granted."
Studies show children don’t have the cognitive ability to safely cross the street until they are 10 years old.
So even though they can ride a bike and do multiplication tables doesn’t mean they can safely cross the street, Evans said. While they may ride or walk on the sidewalks, you still have the danger of cars backing out and/or turning into driveways. During the summer, Evans said the medical staff at Cook Children’s sees an increase in backovers.
“With our larger cars and SUVs, you often can’t see the child and that’s where the backovers happen as you are leaving,” she said. “Of course this disaster is even worse because the injury is usually caused by a parent or family member.”
Evans asks parents to be extra aware that kids are out during this time of year and to be on the lookout for them. She adds distracted driving plays into this too.
“Drivers need to be extra aware that kids are out and about,” Evans said. “It’s up to us, as the adults, to be on the lookout for them. Of course, distracted driving plays into this too. We also need to make sure we are all driving the speed limit or below the limit in neighborhoods, around parks or just anywhere kids may be outside and playing. Really it’s up to all of us to be careful and watch out for kids."
In 2007, it was estimated that there were 5,000 injuries and 205 deaths to children under age 14 as a result of being hit by a vehicle in a driveway or parking area in the United States.
Five seconds could save the life of a child.
Before getting in your car, walk completely around it to check for children before getting in and starting the engine.
Parents and caregivers should follow these tips to help make sure that children remain safe around cars:
- Before getting in the car and starting the engine – walk all the way around the parked vehicle to make sure children are not under or behind it. When possible, engage older kids as helpers to accomplish this.
- Ensure that young children are always accompanied by an adult when getting in and out of a vehicle.
- Identify a safe play area for children to use far away from parked or moving vehicles.
- Identify a safe spot for children to go when nearby vehicles are about to move.
- When walking near moving vehicles, in driveways, in parking lots, or on sidewalks – make sure to firmly hold the hand of each child that is with you.
- Avoid using driveways as play areas if moving cars have access entering or exiting these areas.
- Pay close attention to cameras or sensors available in many vehicles when backing.
Child Safety Center
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