Incidents with child pedestrians increase as school year begins


Along with the start of school comes increased foot traffic so the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt released some safety tips to prevent child-pedestrians injuries.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, each day in the United States more than 40 children are hit by cars while walking. They say that unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19.

The new legislation passed in January prohibiting the use of cell phones in Tennessee school zones is in place to keep pedestrians safer.

“According to the new law it is illegal to knowingly operate a motor vehicle in any marked school zone in this state; when warning flashers are in operation and talk on a hand-held mobile telephone while the vehicle is in motion,” Purnima Unni said, MPH, CHES, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program Manager at Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.. “It is still illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to use a phone while driving.”

Since Unni said that the most dangerous time on neighborhood streets and in school zones for child-pedestrians and bus riders is the start of the school year the American Academy of Pediatrics has offered some tips for traveling to and from school.

School Bus

  • Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
  • Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Make sure your child walks where she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see her, too).
  • Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street in case traffic does not stop as required. Encourage your child to practice how to cross the street several times prior to the first day of school.


  • Practice the bike route to school before the first day of school to make sure your child can manage it.
  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic and ride in bike lanes if they are present.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.

Walking to School

  • Children are generally ready to start walking to school at 9 to 11 years of age.
  • Make sure your child's walk to school is a safe route.
  • Be realistic about your child's pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
  • If your child will need to cross a street on the way to school, practice safe street crossing with them before the start of school.
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