Child preparing to cross the street with cars going byWalking is a great form of exercise, and it’s free. Also, children can use walking as a great time to socialize with friends. However, when children are out walking, they are in danger of being hit by drivers on the road. Whether children are walking to school, to other friends’ houses, to the movies, to sporting events, or to church, children should always remain vigilant and ever aware of the danger posed by careless drivers.

Child Pedestrian Accident Statistics

The reality is that all children are pedestrians at some point in time, and as pedestrians, children are at danger of being involved in an accident with a vehicle. Research by the Children’s Safety Network shows that between 2017 and 2020, over 2,400 children and adolescents died from pedestrian accidents. According to the CDC, roughly 20% of children under the age of 15 killed in a crash involving an automobile were pedestrians. Roughly 17% of people aged 15 and older killed in crashes were pedestrians. Thus, pedestrian accidents present a real danger to our children.

Safety Tips for Children Crossing the Street

Crossing the street is when a lot of pedestrian accidents occur, and this is especially true with children. Children need to be extra careful when crossing the street. Below are some steps children can take to avoid getting hit by a car while crossing the street.

  • Stop at the curb if there is one and stop at the edge of the road if there is no curb.
  • Look left, then right, and then left again for automobiles before stepping into the street.
  • If a car is coming, wait until the car goes by. After that, look left, then right, then left again and wait to cross until there are no cars coming.
  • If a car is stopped where you are trying to cross the road, look to see if there is a driver, and look and listen to see whether the vehicle is running. After that, go to the edge of the parked car and look left, right, and then left again to see if other cars are coming. Don’t cross until the coast is clear.
  • When no cars are approaching, walk across the street. Don’t run.
  • Stay vigilant while crossing the street, constantly looking left-right-left for other cars, trucks, vans, or golf carts.
  • Complete the journey across the street. Don’t stand around in the middle of the road.

Things for Children to Remember While Walking Near Automobiles

There are several things children can do to avoid getting injured by a vehicle when walking.

Use the Sidewalk Whenever Possible

First, children should always walk on the sidewalk, if there is one. Many pedestrian accidents happen every day in Florida because people are not walking on the sidewalk.

Walk Facing Traffic

Second, children should walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk to walk on. If there is no sidewalk, the child should always look for a route with a sidewalk. However, if the child can’t avoid walking on the road, then the child should walk facing traffic.

Be Seen

Third, try to be visible. If possible, children should always wear the brightest color clothing possible if they or their parents or guardians know that they’ll will be walking in the proximity of drivers. That way, drivers will have a much better chance of seeing (and avoiding) the child in the daytime.

Walking at night can be very dangerous. However, if children must walk around at night, they should carry a flashlight and wear clothing with reflective material. If possible, wear reflective materials on their shoes, hat, jacket, bookbag, and other areas, so that headlights reflect light back to the driver. This reflective material could help drivers avoid hitting a pedestrian child.

How Can Parents Help Children Avoid Pedestrian Accidents?

There are several ways parents and guardians can help children avoid pedestrian accidents in Florida. Below are some useful tips.

  • Young children should not cross a street without an adult.
  • Always supervise your child closely around drivers. Be sure to hold a child's hand when walking near the street or in parking lots.
  • Be the example for safe pedestrian behavior because young children learn by watching adults and older children.
  • Talk to children regularly about pedestrian safety and help them develop the habit of walking safely when they are young.
  • When dropping a child off from a vehicle, make sure the child exits the vehicle on the right side of the vehicle onto the sidewalk or shoulder.
  • Don’t let children play near traffic. Instead, find safe places away from traffic for children to safely play.