3 Behaviors Make Kids More Likely to be Hit By a Car

A young girl stands at a crosswalk, waiting to cross the street.
(Image credit: Crosswalk photo via Shutterstock)

Three behaviors put children at higher risk for being hit by a car, a new study finds.

Among kids under age 6, darting into the middle of the street — even while under supervision — was a common cause of injuries from cars. Older children were less likely to be supervised, and more likely to be hit by a car while they were crossing in the middle of the block (rather than at a corner), or while they were using an electronic device.

Increasing parental supervision and educating kids on how to cross safely, as well as reducing common distractions could play an important role in preventing accidents, the researchers said.

Dr. Nina Glass, of New York University's Langone School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed information from about 1,075 people who were struck by cars and treated at the researchers' hospital between 2008 and 2011. Of these, 145 were under 18 years old.

When compared with adults, children struck by cars were more likely to be male (65 percent versus 53 percent), have head injuries (82 percent versus 73 percent).

Of the 39 children in the study under age 6, 17 were injured when they darted into the middle of the street, and 14 were hurt during a mid-block crossing. In all cases, the children were supervised at the time of the accident.

Among children ages 7 to 12, 53 percent were unsupervised at the time of the accident. Forty-seven percent were injured during a mid-block crossing, and 25 percent were injured after darting into the street.

Among teens ages 13 to 17, 88 percent were hit by a car while unsupervised. Thirty-two percent of accidents involved crossing mid-block, 18 percent involved use of an electronic device and 14 percent happened when a teen darted into the street. Just 4 percent of the teen accidents involved alcohol use.

In comparison, 18 percent of the adult accidents occurred while pedestrians were crossing in the middle of the street, 15 percent during alcohol use and 9 percent during electronic device use.

The study will be presented today (Oct. 19) at the annual American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in New Orleans.

Pass it on: Young kids are more likely to be hit by a car when darting into the middle of the street, while older kids are more likely to be hit when crossing in the middle of a block.

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Live Science Staff
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