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Children Face Greater Risk on Foot

In June, during her last week of kindergarten, a six-year-old girl and her mother were walking to school in Jackson Heights. They were almost to school and passing through a crosswalk when an off-duty police officer made a left turn and hit them.

The young girl suffered six broken ribs, a broken pelvis and femur and a collapsed lung, while her mother suffered a concussion and an ankle injury that required surgery. The police officer was neither charged nor disciplined, but the girl’s family has filed a civil suit, alleging negligence on the officer’s part.

The six-year-old girl was fortunate, as nine other pedestrians have been killed since 2009 on the same stretch of road. One was an eight-year-old boy on his way to school. In the aftermath of this recent accident, a crossing guard has been installed at the intersection, but the fact remains that young pedestrians are at higher-than-average risk of falling victim to negligent drivers.

In 2012, 255 pedestrians aged 14 and under were killed in car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and 24 percent of them were killed in intersections. Intoxicated or impaired drivers were responsible for 38 of these deaths.

It’s important to teach children good safety habits while walking on sidewalks and in crosswalks. Because children don’t have the same abilities related to judging distance and speed, they need to understand the importance of waiting until the road is truly clear before attempting to cross. IN addition, because 76 percent of child pedestrian fatalities occur outside of intersections, children should be aware of the acute danger associated with jaywalking. As a way of encouraging safe pedestrian behavior among children, it may be helpful to promote a buddy system and urge your children to stick to pre-determined, safe routes.

If a family member has been seriously injured in a car accident, be sure to work with a skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyer with Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson in New York City. 

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