The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a publication describing the top five collisions between young pedestrians and motorists. Here’s what it tells us, so you can teach your child how to avoid those situations.
1. Darting out into the street
This usually occurs in neighborhoods where children play—a common example is a child chasing after a ball.
Teach your child to ask an adult for help before getting anything in the street. Stop chasing it way before you get to the street. Whatever it is, there’s no way it’s more valuable than you.
2. Vehicle turning into a child’s path
Just because a child has green light or walk signal doesn’t mean he or she is safe. Because of a child’s small size, a driver can still turn into the child’s path without ever seeing him or her.
Teach your child not to trust a traffic signal or sign to keep him safe. Drivers ignore signals or don’t look at them. If that’s the case, then won’t see the child, either. Even when the pedestrian has the signal to cross the street, always look both ways for traffic before crossing and while you cross.
3. Ice cream trucks
Few things generate more unexpected excitement than the neighborhood ice cream truck in the summer. That’s where the danger lies: excited children run impulsively into the street, totally ignoring their surroundings, their safety, and the traffic.
Teach your child to treat the ice cream truck like a ball rolling into the street. Ask an adult first before you go to the truck. Drivers, drive extra slowly when you see an ice cream truck; expect children to pop out of nowhere.
4. School bus stops
This can be one of the most treacherous situations for our schoolchildren. While it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus, some drivers don’t care or don’t pay enough attention. A child walking in front of the bus can be crushed by a dangerous driver.
Teach your child not to trust the school bus stop sign, which other drivers might ignore or not see because they’re distracted. Walk to the edge of the bus. Look LEFT–RIGHT–LEFT. Cross only when the bus driver signals you it’s safe to cross and you see it’s clear.
5. Vehicle backing up
Not every car has a rear camera. Not every driver who has a rear camera uses it. Horrific fatal accidents result from cars backing up, onto, and over children.
Teach your child to look for someone in the driver’s seat before crossing behind a car. Look for the reverse lights, too. Treat driveways like an intersection: stop at the edge, look LEFT–RIGHT–LEFT, and then cross only when it’s clear—meaning nothing’s moving or about to move.
Child Victims Have Rights
If your child gets hurt by an irresponsible driver, he has the same rights to recover for the wreck as if he rode in a car. If you have questions about getting your child’s medical bills paid or holding an unsafe driver accountable, you can send us an email or live chat right where you are to get your questions answered.
You can also download our free report for car crash victims, which answers many questions folks like you have. And you’re always welcome to schedule a free, no-obligation strategy session to answer any questions in person or address any other concerns you might have about your child’s case. After all, it’s your only shot to get the case done right and to do right by your child.