A rash of vehicle-pedestrian accidents involving kids has prompted an investigation into the source of the problem.
Nationwide in 2015, 456 children died from injuries sustained in vehicle-pedestrian accidents, while over 40,000 children were injured as pedestrians in 2014.
Colorado children are certainly not immune to this tragedy. Early in January, four Colorado Springs students were hit by a car while walking to their elementary school. And in 2016, eight school kids were struck by vehicles inside of a 6-week period.
After those 8 children were hit, Safe Kids Colorado began an investigation to find out what is going on.
The results of a 6-month study determined most of the auto-pedestrian accidents involving children in Colorado Springs occur in two zip codes.
The coordinator for Safe Kids Coalition of Colorado Springs, Laura Kent, reports that American Medical Response responded to 120 vehicle-pedestrian calls in Colorado Springs in the first six months of 2016- children were involved in 18 percent of those.
When she began mapping the incidents, Kent realized 80 percent of them involving children occurred in Harrison School District and District 11. Thirty percent occurred in zip code 80910, while another 50 percent of the incidents occurred in zip code 80909.
The most recent crashes were no exception, taking place near James Monroe Elementary School.
Kent notes that these two zip codes a high concentration of schools that are in closer proximity to homes, and therefore more easily walked to by the children. She also notes most of the accidents take place just prior to, or following the school day.
More caution needs to be exercised in these areas, she adds. Motorists should avoid driving distracted and pay extra attention around schools because the children can easily be lost to blind spots and are more difficult to see.
Parents, too, need to teach their kids how to watch out for themselves by crossing at corners, always looking left and right, making eye contact with drivers, and even waiting until a driver waves them on to cross the street- not just crossing because the crosswalk signal is green.
Children under 10 are especially at risk because they lack peripheral vision and it is difficult for them to judge speed or distance of on-coming vehicles. When parents are crossing with their children, Kent says they should hold hands with their child and keep them close because adults are easier for drivers to see.
Although this was the first study of its kind for this area, Safe Kids Colorado intends to continue to follow the data to determine if further safety measures need to be taken.
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