Distracted Walking and Keeping Your Kids Safe
For as long as humanity has been around, we’ve been walking. Yet, recently, walking has become more deadly than ever before.
Whether walking to school, a friend’s house, or the neighborhood pool, knowing how to cross streets safely is parenting 101. As parents, we must teach children how to be safe. We teach them to safely cross the street by stopping and looking both ways before crossing. We also teach them to use crosswalks whenever possible and never to assume that a driver sees them. However, you may be surprised that you must also teach your child against distracted walking.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of pediatric pedestrian deaths in America has increased by 11 percent since 2013. One reason for this increase is thought to be mobile devices. Whether it is the car driver or the pedestrian, using a smartphone is distracting and puts lives at risk.
The U.S. has the highest incidence of motor vehicle crash tests compared to other high-income countries. This is even after population adjustments are made. The most significant incidence of pediatric fatalities occurred in adolescents 10-14 and 15-19 between 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
What is Distracted Walking?
Kids love their music. It is not uncommon to see adolescents and teens walking around with AirPods or other listening devices in their ears. And while listening to music can put a little pep in their step, it can also distract them from safe walking. Plus, these devices have noise-canceling features that block out the sounds of cars, putting the listener’s life at risk.
But music isn’t the only issue. Kids are hyperconnected on their mobile devices. Many kids walking around (and adults, too, if we’re being honest) have their heads down, looking at their phones. Whether responding to texts, looking at TikTok, or making a phone call, walking and phones do not mix. We know about distracted driving and warn our driving teens against it, but distracted walking has become a significant problem too. Because of this, parents and caregivers must provide safety guidelines and instruct kids not to walk around looking at their devices.
And while kids play a significant role in safety, distracted driving and speeding remain major problems. Cell phones should not be used at all when driving. Driving a car is a privilege, and drivers must understand that cars can be weapons. Safe use is non-negotiable.
Take the time to talk to your kids about the dangers of using smartphones while walking. And talk to your driving teens about safe driving and insist they put their phones in their trunks while driving. At Rainbow Pediatrics, we are here to help keep your kids safe and healthy. Please contact our office if you have questions about this topic or any other.