Pedestrian Safety, Children Ages Five to Nine Years
Each week in New York State (NYS), 20 children age five to nine years are treated at a hospital because of a pedestrian-related injury; four of them are injured severely enough to require hospitalization. These injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury hospitalization and death among this age group.
Children in this age group are at an increased risk for pedestrian injuries because they often play in or near the street. Darting out into traffic is the leading cause of pedestrian injuries to these children. In addition, their inability to accurately judge vehicle distance and speed is also a factor.
The good news is that you, as a parent or caregiver, can play a major role in preventing pedestrian injuries.
What can I do to keep my child safe as a pedestrian?
- Children ages five to nine years should still be supervised by an adult when crossing the street.
- Watch your child closely. Hold your child's hand when walking along the street or in parking lots.
- Set an example for safe pedestrian behavior. Young children learn by watching adults.
- Be a positive role model by following (and teaching your child) these rules of the road:
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Stop, and look left, right and left again before entering a roadway
- Never run into the street; always cross at the crosswalk or corner. When crossing at an intersection, pedestrians should check for vehicles turning the corner.
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should walk facing traffic.
- Make eye contact with drivers of stopped vehicles to be sure they are aware you are crossing the street.
- Talk to your child regularly about pedestrian safety and help him or her develop the habit of walking safely when he or she is young.
- When dropping your child off from a vehicle, make sure he or she exits the vehicle on the right hand side onto the sidewalk or shoulder.
- Find safe places away from traffic for your child to play.
If my child takes the bus to school, should I still be concerned about pedestrian safety?
Yes. Even if your child takes the bus, he or she is still a pedestrian on the way to and from the bus stop.
What should I teach my child about pedestrian safety and school buses?
Teach your child to:
- Always cross in front of the bus, never behind it.
- Take five large steps away from the front of the bus before attempting to cross.
- Make eye contact with the bus driver who will signal them when it is ok to start crossing
- Step off the curb and walk only until he or she reaches the front edge of the bus and should then look left, right and left again. Only then if traffic is clear or stopped should he or she proceed to cross.
What types of safety features do pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods have?
- Physical barriers to separate pedestrians from the roadway (such as wide shoulders and strips of landscaping between the road and sidewalk)
- "Traffic calming measures" (such as median barriers or speed humps)
- Crossing guards and speed enforcement in school zones
What can my child wear to be safer as a pedestrian?
Children should wear bright colored clothing or retro-reflective material designed to make pedestrians more visible. Bright or retro-reflective material is especially important if children are walking at dusk or at night.
Where can I find more information about pedestrian safety?
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Trauma Society
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
- National Center for Safe Routes to School/International Walk to School
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- National Safety Council
- New York City Department of Transportation
- New York State Department of Transportation
- New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee
- Partnership for a Walkable America
- Safe Kids USA