More than any other time in history, kids now have a multitude of devices to entertain them between streaming videos to their phones, texting with friends, and posting pictures and messages to Snapchat and Instagram. While this technology can have its benefits, one definite downside is the distraction it causes to the children and teens who use them, especially while out walking in public.
Fifty percent of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. involving kids ages 19 and under are teenagers. Injuries to older teen pedestrians has increased 25 percent over the previous five years. The likely culprit is distracted walking.
Now that school is back in session, more kids are out on the sidewalks. Most children, especially teenagers, are unsupervised during this time and have unlimited access to hand-held electronic devices. This is the time when distracted walking can cause devastating consequences.
It is important to discuss with your children the importance of paying attention while walking. Here are some ideas to share with them to help keep them safe when you are not around.
Minimize the Use of Headphones: While headphones can be a great way to pass time while walking by listening to music, it also prevents kids from hearing the noise of a car approaching or honking at them. It also can make them a target for an abductor or someone else who wishes to cause them harm by taking advantage of their inattention. Its best not to use headphones at all while walking in public, but if they do tell them to leave one earbud out so they are aware of their surroundings.
Look Both Ways for Crossing the Street: Remind kids, even teenagers, that they need to look both ways before stepping into the street. This may seem like common sense, but many are distracted by their phones and may look both ways and then glance at their phone before stepping out into the street. During this period of time, no matter how fleeting, a car could have appeared and they may not realize it.
No Walking and Texting: Finally, discuss with your children the importance of not walking and texting at the same time. It is easy for us to think that our peripheral vision will keep us from falling. But peripheral vision will miss many obstacles including those right in front of the pedestrian. Apart from the danger of oncoming cars, a child who is texting while walking can fall into holes or trip on other objects on the sidewalk.
Distracted walking can cause devastating consequences for a child including serious injury or death. This is why it is so important for parents to discuss this issue with their children to make sure they are aware of the dangers and what they can do to stay safe.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident you need aggressive, knowledgeable lawyers to fight for your rights. Contact the attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP online or by phone at 888.777.1776 for a free, private consultation to learn more about how we can help.