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Do your kids use safe habits to help prevent pedestrian crashes?

Being hit by a car can be a traumatic event for anyone to experience. Pedestrians are usually severely injured or killed in this type of collision because they do not have the same protection from impact that motorists have.

Unfortunately, many of the pedestrians who are injured or killed in traffic accidents are children. However, parents can teach their children safe walking habits to help them avoid potentially dangerous situations.

What situations are most dangerous for young children?

Some of the riskiest situations for young children can involve crossing the street. Crossing at locations other than intersections contributes to over 70% of child pedestrian deaths. However, many children also die when crossing at intersections.

Consider reminding your child to always cross at a crosswalk when there is one available, and cross at a corner or intersection when a crosswalk is not available. Teach him or her to always look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and continue looking left and right while crossing. No child should even run out into the street to chase a toy or pet, and children under 10 years old may not yet have the skills needed to cross the street safely on their own.

Vehicles that are backing up pose another big risk to young children. About seven children younger than 5 years old are killed every month from being hit by a car that was backing up. This type of accident typically occurs in parking lots and driveways when a driver cannot see a small child behind the vehicle.

You can help your child avoid these dangerous situations by encouraging him or her not to play behind or underneath vehicles. Your child can also practice looking for cars that might back up when walking past driveways or through parking lots.

What situations are most dangerous for teenagers?

Distractions and time of day are factors involved in many collisions involving teenage pedestrians. One in four teens crosses the street while distracted, and three out of four teenage pedestrian deaths occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Your teen can minimize the risk of being hit by a car if he or she puts away his or her cellphone and other distracting devices when walking. Teens can also minimize risk, by remaining vigilant and visible after dark. Reflective clothing or a flashlight can help pedestrians be more visible to drivers after dark.

If your child is hit by a car while walking, it may be appropriate to seek justice. Every situation is different, but you may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses or other costs related to your child's injuries. 

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Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

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