Pedestrian Safety, Children Ages One to Four Years

Each week in New York State (NYS), nine children ages one to four years are treated at a hospital because of a pedestrian-related injury; two of them are injured severely enough to require hospitalization. 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 for this age group. 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?

  • Young children should never cross the street without an adult.
  • Supervise 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 that 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.

What types of safety features do pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods have?

  • Sidewalks
  • 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

Should I be concerned about pedestrian safety in driveways and parking lots?

Yes. Toddlers are small and difficult for drivers to see, which puts them at risk of being backed over by vehicles.

What can drivers do to prevent backing over children in driveways and parking lots?

  • Drivers should take a walk around their parked vehicle to ensure that no children are behind it before getting in.
  • Make sure children in the area are in sight before backing a vehicle out of the driveway.

Where can I find more information about pedestrian safety?