AAP: Child Pedestrian Injuries Often Due to Unsafe Crossing

Often despite supervision, midblock crossing and darting into street common among all children

TUESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Pedestrian-motor vehicle injuries in children frequently result from unsafe crossing practices, often despite supervision, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 20 to 23 in New Orleans.

Nina E. Glass, M.D., from the New York University Langone School of Medicine/Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, and colleagues prospectively collected data on all pedestrians struck by motor vehicles who presented to a level-1 trauma center in New York City from 2008 to 2011. Data were stratified according to age and behavioral variables.

The researchers found that, of 1,075 patients, 13 percent were younger than 18 years. Compared with adult patients, children were more often male (65 versus 53 percent); more likely to have minor injuries (82 versus 73 percent); and were more likely to be discharged without admission (70 versus 67 percent). Crossing streets midblock and darting into the street were common causes of accidents in all children; with younger children (0 to 6 years) this was in spite of supervision. About half of 7- to 12-year-olds (53 percent) and most 13- to 17-year-olds (88 percent) were unsupervised. Electronic device use was the cause of injury twice as frequently in teenagers than in adults (18 versus 9 percent).

"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 write.

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