May 2014

A Closer Look at Preventing Pediatric Pedestrian Injuries

Pedestrian accidents are a top cause of death worldwide, with children at the greatest risk. Efforts to reduce the dangers associated with childhood pedestrian accidents date back as far as the 1950s but recent research suggests that programs must include education, a recognition of environmental risk factors, and social change in order to help make kids safer. 

Victims of pedestrian accidents have legal rights and can take action to recover compensation when a driver is to blame for causing the collision. A pedestrian accident attorney in Irvine can help children and their families after an accident.

Preventing Pedestrian Pediatric Injuries 

Each year, an estimated 1.2 million people die worldwide and another 50 million are injured as a result of motor vehicle and pedestrian collisions.  Every nine minutes in the U.S., a pedestrian loses his life.  The populations at the greatest risk of being killed include both very young children and the elderly. In fact, for kids between the ages of five and 15, pedestrian accidents are the second leading cause of death due to unintentional injury.

Safety experts and researchers have tried a number of approaches to making kids safer. A recent article published in Journal of TRAUMA® Injury, Infection and Critical Care  summarized some of the different approaches.

One of the earliest methods of protecting children from pedestrian collisions involved the Kerb Method, which was developed in the United Kingdom in the 1950s. This involved making children memorize and recite simple rules for safe road crossing. The Green Cross Code was established to explain when it was safe to cross, and the simple guidelines from this code are still taught to children throughout Britain today.

Unfortunately, the Kerb method was not sufficient because it involved only basic memorization of rules.  In the late 1980s, World Health Organization studies showed that education alone is not enough to stop motor vehicle collisions from killing pedestrian children. The WHO determined that the most effective method of keeping kids safe involved education, as well as engineering and enforcement. These were dubbed the “three E’s.”

In 1987, an organization in Washington D.C. was formed that employed the WHO principles an focused on the three E’s.  Called Safe Kids, the organization works on the local level in order to change the environment, affect laws that protect children, and educate children, parents and community members on methods of preventing accident safety. Today, Safe Kids programs operate in more than 150 different cities and have been effective in changing behaviors and laws and reducing the risk of pediatric pedestrian deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have also focused on ways to prevent childhood pedestrian accidents. In a multidisciplinary conference in 2002, the agencies affirmed the premise that neither education nor environmental changes alone were enough to make a noticeable impact on the rate of childhood pedestrian collisions. Skills training and behavior evaluation should be part of an integrated program of preventing childhood deaths in pedestrian collisions in order to maximize effectiveness and hopefully save young lives.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.