Teach Your Kids Traffic Safety

Children hit by cars more likely to skip crosswalk and dart into traffic

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) The rules are simple. You press the button, wait for the little green or white man and then cross the street. But some kids take their chances crossing outside of crosswalks— bad idea.

A recent study found that children were most likely to be hit by cars because they didn't use the crosswalk or darted into traffic.

Teens were at greater risk of being hit while using an electronic device.

"Teach your child road safety."

The study, led by Nina E. Glass, MD, of the New York University Langone School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital in New York City, analyzed the behavior patterns of children who had been hit by cars.

The data came from all individuals who had been hit by a motor vehicle and then went to the Level 1 Trauma Center at Bellevue Hospital between 2008 and 2011.

Out of 1,075 total people who were hit by cars during this time, 145 of them (13 percent) were under age 18.

However, children tended to have less serious injuries than the adults who came in and were slightly less likely to be admitted to the hospital.

While 73 percent of the adults had minor injuries, 82 percent of the children had only minor injuries. Seventy percent of the children were discharged without being admitted to the hospital, compared to 67 percent of the adults.

The most common behaviors among the children hit by cars was suddenly running out into the street or crossing not at the crosswalk, despite being supervised by an adult.

Over a third of the children under age 6 who were hit (36 percent, 14 kids) crossed midway through the block instead of at the crosswalk, and 44 percent (17 kids) had darted into the street.

Among children aged 7 to 12, 47 percent of them (23 kids) had crossed midblock and 25 percent of them (12 kids) darted into the street.

A little over half of them (26 kids) were unsupervised when they were hit. Also, one child had used alcohol and another was using an electronic device.

Electronic devices like phones or MP3 players were much more likely to be involved in getting hit by cars among teenagers.

Of the 57 teens who were hit, 11 of them were using an electronic device at the time (18 percent, compared to 9 percent of all adults who were hit while using an electronic device).

A third of the teens were hit while crossing the street not at the crosswalk and only 8 teens were hit because they darted out onto the street. Two teens had been drinking when they were hit.

The authors recommended that children be taught safe crossing behaviors, such as always crossing at the crosswalk with the appropriate walking signal and not running out into the street without looking both ways.

The findings were presented October 19 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans. No information regarding funding or disclosures was available. The data is preliminary and has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 23, 2012
Last Updated:
October 24, 2012