Parents are always concerned about young children playing near roads and crossing busy streets. But did you know? According to leading injury prevention organization, Prevent Child Injury, teenagers are more likely to be struck by a vehicle. This is largely because of distracted walking.
What is distracted walking?
We all know about the dangers of distracted driving. But what is distracted walking? It’s when you are paying more attention to things other than where you are walking, like focusing on talking on the phone or texting, chatting with a friend, listening to music, or even just zoning out.
While this may not seem like it’s as serious as distracted driving, but that is far from the truth. Distracted walking can lead to trips and falls, which may cause cuts, bruises, sprains or fractures, or can even cause someone to step into oncoming traffic, which can cause much more serious injuries.
Five small steps to safer walking
When you are ready to cross the street, pause your music and put your cell phone in your pocket. Take the time to look up and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Be sure to always look both ways before crossing the street, even if you are in a crosswalk.
Follow the rules of the road
Traffic signals aren’t just for cars. Make sure you follow all of the signs and only cross the street at crosswalks and when there is a sign indicating that it is your turn to cross the street. When you follow the rules, drivers know what you will do, making the roads a safer place for everyone.
Wait your turn
Try to make eye contact with drivers and wait until you know what the driver will do. To be safe, never assume that drivers are paying attention to pedestrians.
Use the sidewalks
When available, use a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, be sure to face traffic (walk on the left side of the road) and walk as far away from moving traffic as possible.
Make yourself visible
If you know that you are going to be walking near a busy street, be sure to wear bright or reflective clothing so drivers can see you easily. This is especially important in the evening or after the sun sets.
Emergency care at Children’s Minnesota
At Children’s Minnesota, we like nothing more than seeing kids safe and healthy at home. But we understand that accidents do happen. That’s why we have two emergency rooms that are equipped to take the best care of kids, no matter what happened.
Level I Trauma Center
Our emergency room in Minneapolis is the region’s only level I pediatric trauma center dedicated only to kids. This means that the American College of Surgeons and the Minnesota Department of Health agree that Children’s Minnesota is equipped to offer the highest level of care to critically injured children.