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Child Pedestrian Crashes More Common Around Parks

A new study recently confirmed what many parents would expect — pedestrian accidents involving children commonly occur around parks. In fact, crashes are more likely to occur around parks than schools.

Pedestrian crashes involving children often end tragically. In 2013, one in every five children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.

“Fatalities and injuries in our transportation system, especially vulnerable ones such as children and pedestrians, are a vitally important and soluble issue, yet we treat them as the price of doing business,” said lead author Nick Ferenchak, a civil engineer at the University of Colorado in Denver.

The study, which was recently published in the Injury Prevention journal, examined 30 years of crash data from six U.S. cities to determine where pedestrian crashes involving children under age 18 occurred. After determining the number of pedestrian fatalities for each city, the researchers used GIS mapping to examine the quarter-mile area surrounding parks to compare fatality rates to those around schools and city-wide.

The study revealed that fatalities near parks were 1.04 to 2.23 times more common compared to the vicinity of schools. The findings are concerning, particularly given that pedestrian campaigns largely focus on schools. The researchers also found that the concentration of child pedestrian fatalities around parks is 1.16–1.81 times higher than the respective citywide concentration.

“We need to stop our practice of thinking myopically by focusing just around schools and start thinking about how we make our entire cities safer,” Ferenchak told Reuters Health. “This is not just a transportation issue but a planning/land use issue as well.”

The researchers recommend not only reducing speeds and installing pedestrian crossings around parks, but also locating new parks on slow, narrow roads in neighborhoods.

If your child or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. We are dedicated to helping injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve.