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Most children struck by a cars when jaywalking

Published: Monday, Nov. 5 2012 8:25 a.m. MST

Midvale Elementary schoolers walk to school in Midvale Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. Salt Lake County Safe Kids Coalition, Fed Ex, community leaders, and other volunteers walked with children at Midvale Elementary to teach safe pedestrian behaviors as part of Safe Kids Walk This Way, an initiative designed to enhance safety for children when walking to and from school.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The most common contributors to child pedestrian accidents are jaywalking or darting into the street, according to a study released at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

With the exception of those aged 0 to 6, children are more likely to be struck by a car while unsupervised, the study authors say.

"Improving guardian supervision, educating children on safe crossing behaviors, and minimizing common distractors must be components of any comprehensive pediatric injury prevention program," the study says.

The study examined the data on 1,075 patients admitted to a New York City hospital, who were struck by a car between 2008 and 2011. Of those patients, 145 were under 18 years of age.

The researchers attempted to determine the reasons why children were struck by cars, by looking at what caused the accident. They factored in the differences by age.

Among children aged 0 to 6, the primary cause — 44 percent of all admissions — was darting across the street

Among children aged 7 to 12, the primary cause of 47 percent of their accidents was jaywalking. Nearly 20 percent of accidents in that group were using a music player or a cellphone when hit, compared with only 9 percent of adults.

More than 5,000 Americans are struck and killed by cars per year, Los Angeles Times reported. Many more accidents lead to significant head injuries.

"Improving guardian supervision, educating children on safe crossing behaviors, and minimizing common distractors must be components of any comprehensive pediatric injury prevention program," the authors said.

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News. She has lived in London and is an English graduate from Brigham Young University. Contact her at rachel.lowry@gmail.com or visit www.rachellowry.blogspot.com.

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