The countdown is on to the first day of school  Take some time to remind your children about safe pedestrian practices.

In Canada, child pedestrian injuries are a leading cause of injury-related deaths for children under age 14.  More than 30 children are killed and 2,400 are seriously injured in a typical year.  Child pedestrians are most often hurt in September and October.  (Source)

Childrens physical and mental capacities are still developing well into their teens and they are often unable to make safe judgments about traffic and pedestrian safety.  Also, childrens small size, lower eye level and need to look up and over vehicles can limit their field of vision and make them vulnerable to pedestrian accidents.

And its not just the young children who need to take care.  A teen pedestrian safety survey found that 51% of Canadian teens reported being hit or almost hit by a car, bike or motorcycle.  Teens engaged in various types of risky behaviour while walking, including listening to music, texting and talking on the phone.

Here are some tips for back-to-school pedestrian safety:

– Look both ways and listen before crossing

– Only cross at street corners, stop signs and crosswalks and obey all signals

– Never run or dart out into the street

– Eliminate distractions – cellphones and other electronic devices should not be used when walking across streets

– Wear a helmet when riding a skateboard or bicycle

Pedestrian safety is not just for the pedestrians  It is also each drivers responsibility.  When driving, be careful near school zones and nearby neighbourhoods, give the right of way to school kids and stop at school crossings and for school buses.  Reduce your speed and dont drive distracted!  Click here for information regarding fines and penalties for distracted driving in Ontario.

In a pedestrian/vehicle accident, victims have the right to medical and rehabilitation benefits and to compensation when injury and harm is caused by negligence.  In Ontario, the law assumes that the driver of the vehicle is at fault unless the driver can prove otherwise.  There are also specific laws about personal injury claims involving children.  Be sure to speak to a qualified lawyer in the event of an accident.

Be aware on the roadways and lets have a safe school season.

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