We put a lot of emphasis on protecting child pedestrians around schools. Blinking lights to inform drivers to slow down, crossing guards, special sidewalks and pathways – but data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that it’s not actually schools that are the most dangerous places for children (this is probably, in part, due to our societal focus on keeping schools and nearby roads safe.
The data studied crashes in six cities (Austin, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte NC, Denver CO and Los Angeles), and found that there was a fatality risk around parks that was between 1.16 and 1.81 times that of a city overall, and 1.04 to 2.23 times that of school zones.
Yep – parks, according to the data, bring a statistically higher risk of child pedestrian fatality than school zones do.
Keeping Your Child Safe Around City and Neighborhood Parks
The playground is supposed to be a fun and safe place for your children to hang out with their friends and get some exercise (which is much-needed in this era of smartphones and Angry Birds). But you should stay vigilant when walking to, from and around a park when there are roads nearby. There is always the potential for serious child injury or even death when walking or playing near roads.
- Enforce safe traffic habits in your kids. Look right, left and right again before crossing, and explain to your children how important it is to do this.
- When walking near the road, walk toward oncoming traffic (left hand side of the road). This way, you can see any oncoming threats and get out of the way if you need to.
- Most parks close at night for a reason – don’t let your children go to the park at night. Children are small and difficult to see in the dark, especially if they are not wearing bright clothing