Pedestrian safety with children

Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 5 to 14. Teenagers are now at greatest risk. Teens have a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian injuries in the past five years.

Staying safe around roads and traffic.

Tips to share

  • If you are under the age of 10, you should not cross streets alone.
  • Cross streets at corners and use traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
  • Wear reflective materials, light colored clothing and carry a flashlight at dawn and dusk to be seen by drivers.
  • Always look left, right, and left again when crossing a street.
  • If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Do not play in driveways, streets, parking lots and unfenced yards next to streets.
  • Never run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. Cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections.
  • Look at drivers to make sure they see you, eye contact with them, before crossing in front.
  • Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • When using a cell phone, make sure to stop walking and find a safe area to talk. Be sure to look up and pay extra attention when using headphones and to remove them when crossing the street.

Tips for adults

  • Speak with your children about how to stay safe around roads and cars.
  • Children under 10 years old should cross streets with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.
  • Drive with an ear and eye out for kids. Watch out for children who may be crossing the street, chasing a ball or riding a bike.
  • Follow the speed limit, slowdown in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way.
  • Look both ways when making a turn to help spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Concentrate on the road and surroundings.
  • Drivers should reduce distractions, such as cell phones, to better concentrate on the road and surroundings
  • Do not text and drive.

Videos

Every Child Deserves a Safe Place to Walk

South Carolina stories from the National Center for Safe Routes to School

Safe Kids USA information

  • Pedestrian Safety fact sheet - PDF