Child Pedestrian Deaths Higher Around Parks Than Schools
A new study based on 30 years of U.S. crash data reports that child pedestrian deaths are up to twice as likely around parks compared to schools.
Lead author Nick Ferenhack and his coauthor used the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on crashes in six cities, including Austin, Dallas, and Houston in Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver, and Los Angeles, between 1982 and 2012 for children under age 18. In all these cities, they found out that fatality risk around parks was 1.16 to 1.81 times that of the city overall. Moreover, children deaths near parks were 1.04 to 2.23 times more common compared to the vicinity of schools.
Ferenhack told news company Reuters Health by email that it is not just a transportation issue but a planning/land issue as well. He also said that it is time to stop focusing only around schools and start thinking about how to make the entire cities safer.
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 5 and 24 years.
- Every hour, about 40 children die on roads around the world.
- In 2015, 456 child pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle collisions, at a rate of less than 1 child per 100,000 children.
- In 2014, more than 40,000 children suffered a non-fatal pedestrian injury.
- More than 6 out of 10 child pedestrian fatalities were among males versus females.
Child Pedestrian Safety
Safer and more walkable roads are what we want for our children. This can be possible with the strong desire and will of our government in improving our transportation system and enhancing the urban design of our streets. Indeed, lowered speed limits and pedestrian crossings in school zones have reduced child pedestrian injury rates. If these measures will also be observed around parks, it is highly possible that we will achieve similar results.
Likewise, parents play an essential role in promoting pedestrian safety. We should teach our children how to properly behave as pedestrians by educating them on how to cross streets, observe traffic signals, and make eye contact with motorists. It is also important to remind them about the risks of pedestrian distraction. Walking while distracted, including texting and listening to music, increases the risk of pedestrian injuries. Just like when drivers are prohibited from texting while driving, pedestrians should also refrain from texting while walking or crossing the street.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I am aware how vulnerable our children are. But with the right education and guidance, we can have peace of mind. And whatever we do – walk or drive, let’s practice safe driving and walking habits, and always stay focused!