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Why kids get hit by cars

     * Child Development
     * Perception
     * Vision

   school.xing2 Getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death
   for kids 5- to 9-years-old, and kids up to age 15 make up a
   disproportionate number of pedestrian casualties worldwide. It's not
   hard to think of reasons for this scary statistic: Children are easily
   distracted and don't always pay attention, and they are also smaller,
   so they're more likely to sustain fatal injuries when they are hit. But
   there may be another, even more basic, reason for this childhood peril:
   Kids simply don't see the cars coming.

   The ability to see and avoid looming objects is a fundamental skill,
   crucial to survival not only for humans but for most animals. We take
   it for granted because we do it automatically, but it's actually a
   complex skill, requiring a rapid calculation of size and distance and
   velocity. Add to this the fact that we pedestrians are also in motion,
   and must figure in our own walking speed, and it's no surprise that
   even adults get clipped sometimes. New evidence is now showing that
   kids' perceptual abilities are slow to develop, making them less adept
   at this crucial calculation.

   Psychological scientist John Wann and his colleagues at the University
   of London ran a laboratory simulation of regular street crossing in
   order to compare the perceptual skills of adults with those of children
   of various ages. In this realistic simulation, a car approached on a
   roadway, sometimes varying in size and speed; sometimes the subjects
   saw the car directly in front of them, and other times off to the side
   a bit, and they reported whether the image of the car expanded or
   stayed the same. The scientists also calculated the subjects' walking
   speed, and factored their movement into a calculation of their
   perception of the approaching car's looming threat.

   school.xing They found a clear developmental pattern in perception of
   the looming vehicles. As reported on-line in the journal Psychological
   Science, the kids showed clear improvement in their acuity with age,
   but even the older children did not match the adults in their ability
   to detect an automobile's approach, suggesting that the neural
   mechanisms for this skill remain undeveloped. Paradoxically, faster
   moving cars appear to loom less than slow moving cars, creating a
   dangerous illusion that speedy cars are not approaching. Indeed, the
   scientists determined that children could not reliably detect a car
   approaching at speeds higher than 20 miles per hour. What's more, the
   kids' perception of a car's approach was worse if the car was even
   slightly off to the side--a realistic condition for typical road
   crossing--or if they themselves were in motion, as they likely would

   Driving 20 miles per hour is really slow. Try it sometime. But it's
   typically the speed we're supposed to drive in school zones, and there
   are many other locations--residential areas, for example--where kids
   are also vulnerable. These new findings fit with evidence that kids are
   three times as likely to get hit by a car when traffic speed exceeds 25
   miles an hour, and now we know why. Not only do speedy drivers need
   more reaction time, now it appears that young pedestrians simply can't
   see the cars coming in the first place. It can be a deadly combination.

   Wray Herbert's book, On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's
   Hard-Wired Habits, has been published by Crown. Excerpts from his two
   blogs--"Full Frontal Psychology" and "We're Only Human"--appear
   regularly in Scientific American Mind and in The Huffington Post.
   March 15, 2011


   Jeanette March 10, 2012

   You forgot to mention, that no matter which way you slice it, ALL
   pedestrians/bicyclists have the right of way. The driver should always
   be held responsible for hitting someone. If studies show that kids have
   slower reaction times, it does not matter. Too many children are hit
   and killed (or injured) by cars. NO! Not by cars, that is the
   equivalent of saying that guns kill people. Children are being killed
   by PEOPLE Driving Cars. It is unacceptable. When we acquire a driver's
   license, we are saying that we will take responsibility for our actions
   behind the wheel.

   There is no excuse good enough to give to a parent or family member,
   and `she's small and has bad reaction times' is not a good enough one.
   My niece was killed by a driver, not a car. The car was just the object
   used to kill her. I may be a little biased, but this one hits close to
   home. And I do know that I feel the same way no matter what.
   andrew lyendecker August 6, 2017

   What if a child runs out into traffic chasing a ball. I think the
   author is not trying to place blame but rather trying to describe the
   maturation process of the ability to be in the moment.
   andrew lyendecker August 6, 2017

   I would like to reply
   andrew lyendecker August 6, 2017

   Julie March 23, 2012

   As a parent who has also hit a child riding a bike I disagree 100% with
   the above writer. The child that I hit was crossing the crosswalk when
   it was red for him. Blocking my view was a semi who saw the child in
   the right lane and I was in the left lane (5 lane road). The light had
   been green for me, I was following speed limits and was found 100% NOT
   at fault. The child went in front of the semi and was in front of me
   without ANY warning as the semi was blocking my view of the crosswalk
   (keeping in mind the light was green for me). I had approached the
   crosswalk going 20 MPH, the light turned green 500 yards from the
   intersection. It was horrifying and, by far, the worst incident that I
   have ever experienced. Luckily, the child (who also was not wearing a
   helmet) was ok other than a slight concussion. He was honestly very
   lucky to be alive. I am sharing my story because parents ALSO need to
   teach children that cars can KILL and to obey traffic signals and laws.

   I am a careful driver who has never been in an accident other than this
   and had 1 ticket in my 18 years of driving. Accidents happen sadly.
   Rachel Piccione March 5, 2017

   Yeah the parents dont pay attention so thats there falt for their kids
   getting hurt. At Walmart this giy hit a 5 year old girl and he was
   saying that sje is not hirt by the way the car hit her and the mother
   was no where to be seen she was left at Walmart and she went in to the
   street and got hit by the car.
   Ashley C May 11, 2017

   My almost 4 year old was hit by a car yesterday I feel like the worse
   mom in the world. She survived with only bruising and a slight skull
   Donna p January 26, 2014

   Parents have to take the blame because they send young kids out into
   the street alone way too young!!!
   Betania February 2, 2014

   I only read this article because Im having a problem with people coming
   to a toddler park that is surrounded by busy streets and leaving the
   gates open. This park is in a shape of a triangle and each side has
   streets with zooming cars going by. I try to mention to the people
   about the children being in danger by leaving the gates open but it
   doesnt seem to sink in. I even find some parents doing it! This park
   has newborns to 5 year olds playing at the park all the time. Does
   anyone have any advice?
   Amy Angell January 23, 2015

   Every morning I see that a child is getting hit by a car, this is scary
   and its not all the kids fault .Its people in a hurry on there phones..
   Walking my kids to school one morning I too was almost clipped by a car
   going about 50 miles per hour , she never slowed down even though she
   could clearly see me almost across the walk and I just made it to the
   sidewalk before she almost hit me.... I should have had plenty of time
   acording to how far back she was.....
   Jayleen March 11, 2015

   I hit a young child in a cross walk yesterday. Clearly the most
   devastating moment of my life. I too, am a careful driver. One ticket
   in my life. I stopped and the child was running in the cross walk.
   Thank the lord above, he is most likely going to be ok. He wasn't
   crying,was talking and moving. knew his name and his teachers name. no
   broken bones. He had a big bruise on his head. A little blood from
   being scratched, but no other bleeding. police and paramedic said he'd
   be ok, just banged up. If he would of died, i don't know what I would
   of done.
   Lacey Heath October 22, 2015

   I am not going to try and argue with anyone on here. I am simply going
   to say how i feel over the whole thing. My brother was hit by a car
   about three weeks ago and when it happened i had went to the bathroom.
   I blame myself entirely for what happened to him. I am only sixteen and
   to be honest that was horrifying for me. i had to ride in the ambulance
   and helicopter and did not leave his side once. my parents were at work
   and i had to watch my four younger siblings. the women that hit him was
   only worried about herself. She said and i quote " thank god i m not
   going to jail" once she realized he wasn't dead. she told the police
   that she saw him, she was going about 30 so she really did some damage.
   He is still in the hospital. I blame her but not entirely because i
   should have been there.
   Tristan Pasciak April 24, 2016

   I had had a bike accident with a kid that ran out I front of me and I
   skitted and slid into him when I came to a halt. I was not at fault
   because the parent was not watching her kid. The kid was not injured
   neither was I. Yet to this day kids are not entirely being supervised
   by parents, they are too busy partying or talking to other people. Some
   parents think that "oh its a bike it won't hit my child". But when they
   see a car they say "Car!". My advice is if you have a child playing in
   the street, look for bikes and cars. If you are in a car, honk for
   Mike September 10, 2016

   Schools and parents should be doing more to teach kids street safety
   when walking on the sidewalk and crossing the street. This used to be
   done, but these days, it has been replaced with stop signs on the sides
   of buses and the end result is the kids don't really learn any of the
   skills they need to learn. I think the school system is just as much to
   blame as the parents are in most cases. Kids don't even look both ways
   anymore. They just run across the street like they do when the bus is
   there to protect them, but when there's no bus, bad things happen.
   Colleen Salsbury September 16, 2016

   My daughter was hit by a car and dragged 23 feet under the tire.Due to
   security cameras, we were able to see that she had looked both ways and
   did what she had been taught to do. The driver(who worked at a daycare
   down the street from us) wasn't looking at the road and never saw her
   until she hit her. My daughter was 7 at the time. From the knee down on
   her right leg, there was nothing but bone. The woman never apologized,
   she went so far as to blame my daughter! I feel so bad for anyone who
   had this happen, both driver and victim. I just wish that this person
   could have apologized or shown any remorse at all. Our medical bills
   after five years ( and counting) have reached over 1.5 million. 19
   surgeries and counting, and still no remorse. Please just drive slower
   and watch carefully, an accident is just that, an accident. Remember
   the mortality code, children under the age of 10, cannot grasp the
   understanding that they could die. No one wins in this tragedy...they
   all lose!
   bobby October 30, 2016

   I hit a 4 year old children half year ago. I was driving on the road
   with 2 lanes. I'm driving in right lane. The father trying to take the
   children walk against the traffic. He claim in the police report that
   his cell phone fall down. He go to pick it up and therefore he didn't
   hold his children hand. The taxi in the left lane see they want to
   cross the road and therefore stop. When I'm behind the taxi, I check
   again and again no one is going to cross the road. Then the children
   suddenly run in front of my car. I quickly turn my car and fortunately
   I didn't hit him directly. He's going to be ok although he get a broken
   right leg.
   Jonathan L Heckrote February 13, 2017

   I don't understand. I was trying to explain to my 6 year old daughter.
   The importance of car safety weather it was her walking somewhere
   someday. Or the response abilities of a driver and I was explaining how
   kids get hit all the time. And she ask how many kids get hit a day. So
   I tried to look it up and I can not find any information. You would
   think that something like that would be available. If any body knows of
   even if anybody knows why the info is unavailable could you let me
   Kara Colclough March 23, 2017

   I read a year or more ago that every 20 seconds a child is hit by a car
   in London (UK)
   Tina jones August 2, 2017

   My daughter gothit by a car that mounted the pavement while she was
   waiting for lights to change at a pelican crossing. She has had 30
   hours of surgery, she had to have above knee amputation or she would
   have died. She has numerous metal work and will be in hospital for
   weeks and rehab for months, plus I may have to give up my job to look
   after her

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