Heads-Up on Teens and Pedestrian Safety

By the time your child reaches his teen years, you’d think you no longer have to worry about him safely crossing the street. Think again.

The teen pedestrian death rate is twice that of younger children and accounts for half of all vehicle-related pedestrian deaths according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

pedestrian safety tips

They have years of maturity and physical development over the younger kids, so why are twice as many teens dying from vehicle-related pedestrian injuries? About half of those injuries may be attributed to “distracted” walking.

According to a 2014 Safe Kids Worldwide study of 1,040 teens, half reported crossing streets while distracted by mobile devices. Of the teens who had actually been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle:

• 47 percent were listening to music
• 20 percent were talking on the phone
• 18 were texting

“Texting while walking is not a good idea, but headphones are especially distracting,” said CHOC Children’s Community Educator Amy Frias, who is also the Safe Kids, Orange County coordinator. “Headphones put kids into their own zone when they should be more aware of their immediate surroundings.”

Additionally, more teens who had been hit or nearly hit reported crossing streets in risky ways. They were more likely to attempt crossing from the middle of the street or from between parked cars, instead of at an intersection or using a crosswalk.

Safe Crossing at Every Age

Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth-leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 19 in this country. Since opening in January 2015, the CHOC Children’s Trauma Center has treated pedestrian injuries in eight children ages 3 to 12 years. The most common times of day these injuries occurred: before school and in the early evening.

Whether your child is 6 or 16, these important safety tips could be lifesaving:

Put down all the devices — Insist your child pay full attention whenever walking on sidewalks or roads.
Cross only at intersections and crosswalks — Make eye contact with the driver before stepping into the street.
Be as visible as possible at night — Light-colored clothing helps make it easier for drivers to see your child.
Instruct teen drivers to check behind their cars before backing up — Be extra careful and take a moment to make sure a small child is not playing or walking behind your vehicle.
Set a good example — Children under age 10 should cross the street with an adult. When walking with your child, explain how you always follow traffic safety rules, too.

The Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s is home to Orange County’s first pediatric-focused trauma center. Serving children ages 14 and younger, our specially trained physicians, surgeons, nurses and respiratory therapists are available around the clock to provide immediate intervention and care for traumatic injuries.

Download this pedestrian safety tip sheet.

Related posts:

  • Kids and Emergency Care
    Specialized care is necessary when dealing with kids in the emergency room. They need to be treated by specially trained doctors utilizing equipment designed for their needs.
  • Splash Course: Kids and Drowning
    When school is out, there’s nothing children love more than to splash around in the pool. But before the fun begins, safety should come first. View the full feature
  • OC’s First “Kids’ ER” Opens in March
    Staffed around the clock by our world-class team of pediatric emergency medicine physicians, pediatric nurses and other specially trained healthcare professionals, the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department opens in ...

5 Top Summer Safety Tips

CHOC summer safetySummer is in full swing. Have a fun and safe season with these summer smarts!

1. Always supervise children while in or near water, even a shallow wading pool or the tub. Check with local hospitals and the American Red Cross for a CPR class near you. Drowning is preventable.

2. Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. No exceptions.

3. Limit sun exposure during peak hours – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

4. Keep hydrated. Remind your little ones to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and to not wait until they’re thirsty.

5. Check for hidden hazards at the playground. Look carefully for razor blades, broken glass or insects. Teach kids to identify and avoid plants like poison ivy.

 

Related posts:

  • Skin reactions to the sun
    All parents know the importance of sunscreen and dangers of sunburn. But do you know about other skin reactions to the sun your child might experience?
  • A Pediatrician’s Tips for Sunburn Remedies
    Summer may be coming to a close, but in Southern California, sunburns can be a year-round issue in our sunny climate. Even though trips to the beach and afternoons spent ...
  • 6 Summer Sun Safety Tips
    As temperatures rise and school is out of session, your family could likely be spending more time outdoors than inside. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting sun exposure (and ...

 

Your Four-Inch Window of Prevention

Window screens may be effective for keeping bugs out of your home, but they’re not strong enough to keep your child inside. Since opening in January 2015, the CHOC Children’s Trauma Center has treated a surprising number of children injured from window falls. In recognition of National Trauma Awareness Month, learn how to prevent the leading cause of non-fatal childhood injuries in the United States.

CHOC Children's Trauma Center

Every year, unintentional window falls send thousands of children ages 6 and younger to emergency departments nationwide. A young child can squeeze through an opening larger than 4 inches, and any window higher than 6 feet from the ground poses a risk for serious, possibly fatal injury.

Since opening in January 2015, the CHOC Children’s Trauma Center has also seen a significant percentage of fall-related injuries. About 40 percent of all trauma cases have been related to unintentional falls. Of those, 35 percent were window falls.

“Boys younger than age 5 are at the biggest risk,” said CHOC Community Health Educator Amy Frias, who is also the Orange County coordinator for Safe Kids Worldwide. “They’re playful, spontaneous, energetic and imaginative.”

Window screens will not support a small child’s weight, she added. Young children are naturally top heavy.

Protect Your Child From Window Falls

Remember to supervise your child around windows at home, and whenever visiting family and friends. Extra precautions may buy you precious extra seconds:

  • Lock it down— Install a removable window lock or guard to limit the opening to no more than 4 inches. Be sure it is one that may be removed quickly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.
  • Outsmart your little “climber.” Keep beds, bookcases, play chests and other furniture away from windows.

If your child falls out of the window, call 911 and avoid moving your child. A traumatic injury to the head, neck or spine may not be immediately obvious.

The Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s is home to Orange County’s first pediatric-focused trauma center. Our specially trained physicians, surgeons, nurses and respiratory therapists are available around the clock to provide immediate intervention and care for traumatic injuries.

Download this tip sheet to learn more about childhood injury prevention, including unintentional falls.

Learn more about pediatric emergency and trauma services at CHOC.

Related posts:

  • Kids and Emergency Care
    Specialized care is necessary when dealing with kids in the emergency room. They need to be treated by specially trained doctors utilizing equipment designed for their needs.
  • Splash Course: Kids and Drowning
    When school is out, there’s nothing children love more than to splash around in the pool. But before the fun begins, safety should come first. View the full feature
  • OC’s First “Kids’ ER” Opens in March
    Staffed around the clock by our world-class team of pediatric emergency medicine physicians, pediatric nurses and other specially trained healthcare professionals, the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department opens in ...

5 Child Pedestrian Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

As pedestrians, children are often at great risk of injury for both their small size and lack of experience with traffic rules. Further, pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Before your child walks off to his friend’s house, be sure to check out pedestrian safetythese reminders from Safe Kids Worldwide, and talk to him openly about the dangers for pedestrians.

1) Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
2) Teach kids at an early age to put down their devices and then look left, right and left again when crossing the street. Be a good role model and do the same.
3) Children under 10 should cross the street 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.
4) Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach them to never run or dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.
5) When driving, be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones and be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.

For more child safety and health tips, go to choc.org/health.

Related posts:

Five Ways to Help Children Build Good Body Images

The concept of body image refers to what a person thinks and feels when they look at themselves in the mirror. Children – both boys and girls – begin forming their sense of body image at age 5.

Parents and other adults can have a hand in helping to shape these attitudes and feelings. Carmen Namenek, manager of community education at CHOC Children’s, offers five things parents, and all adults, can do to help children build and maintain good body images.

body image

  1. Praise qualities about your children that go beyond appearance

Teach kids to value other characteristics that have nothing to do with their looks, Carmen says. Focus on character traits when offering praise: For example, say “I’m so proud of how kind and caring you are” or “Great job at working so hard at your homework.”

Related, Carmen recommends children keep a list of those character-related compliments. The next time they’re feeling down, they can refer to it and think about all their great qualities.

  1. Be a great role model for having a healthy body image

Because kids are so influenced by their parents’ actions and behaviors, it’s important that adults model a healthy body image. Parents shouldn’t let children hear them disparage their own looks or lament a physical characteristic. Kids learn by watching and hearing others, Carmen says.

“We need to make positive comments about ourselves,” she says. “It’s OK to dislike a body part but you can’t let that turn into hate.”

And if the disliked physical characteristic is something that can be changed, use that as an opportunity to bond with a child, Carmen recommends. For example, if a parent would like to lose weight, initiate evening walks with a child. Parents might drop a few pounds, but, even more valuable, they will bond closer with their child.

  1. Use the media to discuss body image and the definition of beauty.

Television shows, movies, cartoons, magazines and the Internet play a significant role in shaping children’s body image. Studies show that a person sees an estimated 5,260 “attractiveness messages” each year through just commercials.

Blocking children from media is unrealistic, but parents can use these channels to educate and bolster better body image, Carmen says.

Ask a child questions such as “Do you think images on television and movies are real?” or “Do the media portray all types of bodies or beauty?” Share facts with children to help them maintain proper perspective. For example, models weigh on average 23 percent less than non-models.

“These facts help children understand that bodies in the real world are more diverse and unique than those in the media,” Carmen says.

  1. Teach children that health and appearance are different

Carmen recommends that adults focus on making daily healthy choices and changing feelings, rather than on weight and size.

Children can also benefit from a basic genetics lesson: Teach them that some things can be changed, and others cannot, she says.

  1. Nurture their inner selves

Body image is linked to self-esteem, so help children feel good about themselves in all arenas, Carmen recommends.

Build self-esteem by participating in activities that help them feel good about themselves and others. This will help children feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Finally, Carmen cautions that if a child is obsessing over their appearance or taking extreme measures such as radical dieting or skipping meals, parents should consult with a pediatrician immediately. These children need emotional and physical help.

Related articles: