Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Home / News and Events / Health Tips / Protect your child from back-to-school pedestrian injuries
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Protect your child from back-to-school pedestrian injuries
 

Reviewed By: Reviewed by Sarah Haverstick, Safe Children program manager at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt (Last Updated: August 9, 2011)
  

Safety experts at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt offer safety tips for children and their parents to help prevent pedestrian injuries, which often increase as the school year begins.

Safe Kids USA says pedestrian injuries involving motor vehicles remain the second leading cause of death in the United States for children ages five to 14. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2008 one of every five children involved in a traffic accident was a pedestrian.

Tennessee ranks in the top 20 for child pedestrian fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Children's Hospital urges parents to offer as much supervision as possible this school year, including always accompanying children under age 10 as they cross the street.

"This is especially important because the brain of a young child is still developing," says Sarah Haverstick, Safe Children program manager at Children's Hospital. "It's challenging for a young child to process the speed of an oncoming vehicle and decipher the time it will take them to safely cross the street." 

Children's Hospital offers the following simple pedestrian safety rules for children:

  • Always walk on the sidewalk, or walk facing oncoming traffic if sidewalks aren't available.
  • Cross the street at intersections and use crosswalks when available. Never run.
  • Look left, right and then left again before crossing the street. Always make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets.
  • Be mindful of cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Do not cross between parked cars.

In addition, says Haverstick, it's a good idea to review with children some basic pedestrian safety rules, including proper bus stop behavior. This will ensure that children stay as far from road traffic as possible. 

Motorists need to be extra vigilant as well, especially in school zones. Use caution at intersections and always decrease speed in residential neighborhoods. It's also important to remember that all traffic must stop for a stationary school bus.

Additional tips on pedestrian safety


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