Physicians offers tips to protect children from being hit by cars
In the United States, about 44 children are hit by cars while walking each day. A recent increase in the number of children hit by cars in the Midlands has pediatric surgeons and trauma doctors concerned. “Since December, we have had eight children hit by cars in our community and one child died,” said pediatric emergency medicine physician Derick Wenning, MD. “Four children have been hit by cars just since March 21.”
Children’s Hospital pediatricians and Safe Kids Midlands offer these tips to keep children safe:
Teach kids how to walk safely
- Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking while crossing by keeping their heads up and looking around until safely across.
- It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
- Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
- Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
- If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.
Take action against distraction
- Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce the message with teenagers.
- Put headphones down or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
- Be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone who is in danger.
- If kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area to talk.
Let your actions speak as loudly as your words
- Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.
- When driving, put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until your final destination.
- Be especially alert and slow down when driving in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
- Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.
About Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands
Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Prisma Health Children's Hospital–Midlands is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.