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Preventing child pedestrian crashes

One of the greatest fears of California parents is the threat of their children being involved in a pedestrian crash. We try to teach our children the best we can, but they still react impulsively to different situations and that could result in an unintended pedestrian accident -- especially if a child plays or walks in the street or darts into traffic.

Here is some advice on how to teach your children to be safe when crossing streets:

-- Tell your children to only cross the road at an intersection or a corner.

-- Before crossing, children should first stop at the curb, then look left, then right and then left again, even at intersections, crosswalks and corners.

-- Even while crossing, children should continue to look right and left for signs of oncoming traffic.

-- Never dart into the street, and only walk. Running across the road could result in a trip or fall.

- Teach children to look for signals that vehicles are beginning to move, like exhaust smoke, rear lights, motor sounds and turning wheels.

-- Encourage children to be alert at all times when they are pedestrians by using their eyes and ears.

-- Children should always walk on the sidewalk if they can. It is safest to walk in the direction of oncoming traffic on the side of the road away from traffic if sidewalks aren't available.

California parents and drivers should be aware that motorists have a higher level of responsibility to avoid a child pedestrian crash. As such, if a child is hurt or killed by a motor vehicle, the child will more likely have the ability to pursue personal injury claims against court against the driver than if the pedestrian were an adult.

Source: NHTSA, "Prevent Pedestrian Crashes: Parents and Caregivers of Elementary School Children," accessed Jan. 04, 2017

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