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Common causes for children getting hit by cars

It can be a terrifying experience for a parent to find out their child has been struck by a car. However, getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death for children between ages 5 and 9, according to the Association for Psychological Science. As a parent, it is important to understand the common causes of these crashes, so you can help your child avoid being hit by a car while walking.

According to an article by the Association for Psychological Science, children are susceptible to getting hit by cars because they are easily distracted, they are smaller than adults and they do not see the cars coming. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resources also highlight the impulsive nature of children ages 10 and under and recommends children in that age range have supervision when walking or playing near roadways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of the most common causes for a child being hit by a car is when a child runs out into the street, often to chase after a toy. Some of the other common causes for children getting get hit by cars are when a driver:

  • Turns into the path of a child at an intersection.
  • Cannot see the child crossing in front of another vehicle.
  • Backs into a child when exiting driveways or parking lots.

Preventing children from getting hit by a car

To help prevent your child being hit by a car, explain to him or her how to walk safely. Then have him or her practice safe walking skills when the two of you walk together, and set the expectation that the child follows safe walking habits regardless of who he or she is walking with.

When walking, your child should be looking and listening for signs that vehicles are about to move, especially when passing driveways and parking lots. It is important for your child to walk on a sidewalk when available and facing traffic when there is no sidewalk. It is also important your child crosses at the corner or intersection, using a crosswalk when it is available.

When approaching an intersection, your child should stop at the edge of parked cars, the curb or other vehicles and never run out into the road. Before crossing, your child should look to the left, then the right, then the left again. When the traffic is clear, the child can carefully walk across the road while continuing to look both ways.

Crashes between cars and pedestrians can be catastrophic, especially when the pedestrian is a child. However, with a better understanding of common causes and safe walking skills, you can help your child practice safety skills to help prevent this kind of tragedy from occurring.

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