Summer has come to Kansas City. For children, this is good news: vacation, later bedtimes and days spent playing outside. The bad news? Summer is a dangerous time for kids. According to Safe Kids USA, motor vehicle deaths increase by 20 percent and pedestrian deaths increase by 16 percent during the summer months.
Kansas City pedestrian accident statistics:
- Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children younger than 14 years old.
- Approximately one-fifth of child motor vehicle fatalities involve a child pedestrian.
- About 7% of all pedestrian deaths involve children ages 14 or younger.
- Almost 14,000 American children are injured in pedestrian accidents each year.
- 83% of all child pedestrian deaths happen at non-intersection locations such as streets, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks.
- 25% of child pedestrian accidents occur in the evening, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Boys between the ages of five and nine are most likely to be struck and injured in a pedestrian accident. These accidents often occur when a boy darts into the street without looking for oncoming traffic.
- Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban and suburban areas.
- Childhood pedestrian accidents spike in the summer months, when kids are more likely to be playing outside.
Why do Kansas City child pedestrian accidents occur?
Many researchers believe the brain of a child under 10 years of age is not yet able to comprehend how far away a car is or how fast a car is going. A child sees the car, but believes there is plenty of time to cross the street or get that ball and dashes into traffic. This inability to measure vehicle speed and distance puts children at an increased risk of becoming a pedestrian accident victim.
Children may believe that:
- If I can see the driver, the driver can see me.
- I have a green light, so it is safe to cross.
- Drivers always stop if someone is crossing at a crosswalk.
- Cars can stop quickly.
Prepare for summer vacation by going over pedestrian safety rules with your child.
Safety Tips for Children Ages 2-4:
- Small children should never cross streets alone.
- Always supervise your young child when playing outside.
- Don't let your young child play in driveways, unfenced yards, streets or parking lots.
- Teach your child to "look left, right and left again" before crossing the street.
- Cross only when the street is clear.
Safety Tips for Children Age 5-9:
- Don't let children play in driveways, unfenced yards, streets or parking lots.
- Don't allow a child under age 10 to cross streets alone.
- Teach your child to understand and obey traffic signals and signs.
- When walking on sidewalks or paths, walk facing traffic. Avoid walking where there are no sidewalks, but if it is necessary, walk as far to the left as possible.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
- Cross when the street is clear and keep looking both ways while crossing.
- Always walk across the street, don't run.
- Carry a flashlight at night, dawn and dusk and wear reflective clothing when playing outside in the evening.
For more child pedestrian tips, read our article: "Back To School in Kansas City: Child Pedestrian Safety Tips For A Safe And Happy School Year."
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