As warmer weather approaches, parents brace for the advent of outdoor play and the dangers associated with young children running in parks and neighborhoods located in areas surrounded by local streets. The increase in the number of car and pedestrian accidents involving children is an unwelcome and tragic feature of summers in Chicago.
More than 13,000 children, ages 5 to 9 are struck and injured by cars while crossing the street in the U.S. every year according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. A recent study sought to determine why children are so vulnerable. Researchers at the University of Idaho compared traffic-detection skills in 35 adults ages 19 to 50 and 50 children ages 6 to 9. Participants listened on headphones to 24 recordings of a car approaching at 5, 12 and 25 miles per hour, from both directions, and pressed a computer key when they detected the vehicle, identified its direction and thought it had arrived at their location.
The results were stunning. Adults detected the car significantly earlier than children, though 8 and 9 years old heard the car before 6 and 7 years. Adults detected the vehicle traveling at 5 miles per hour at a distance of about 48 feet, compared with 3 feet for younger children and 41 feet for older children.
Adult drivers should be aware that children simply lack the perceptual skills to interpret important pedestrian safety cues, and never assume that a child is aware of a presence of a moving car. If your child was hit by a car, a car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need.