In 2019, there were 181 children killed in pedestrian accidents. In 2020, there were 177. Most were toddlers (between the ages of 1-3) and young children (4-7). In fact, an estimated 1 in 5 children killed in car accidents were never in a car, but were instead just walking on the sidewalk or crossing a street.

ANY number of children killed or injured in pedestrian accidents is too many, and that’s why it’s important to look into why these accidents happen and how they can potentially be prevented.

Major Causes of Child Pedestrian Accidents

There are many ways that collisions with pedestrians happen, but child pedestrian accidents often happen for different reasons than those involving adults. Some of the key causes include:

  • Speeding in school zones: School zones have lowered speed limits specifically because children are around and in danger of being struck by cars. Unfortunately, distracted drivers may not notice they’ve entered a school zone. Other drivers may resent being forced to slow down, and they deliberately ignore the reduced speed limits in school zones. Both of these behaviors put children walking to and from school in danger and leave drivers liable if they injure a child. Be aware: “Super Speeder” rules and stricter code enforcement are allowed in these zones to protect our children.
  • Backover accidents: Children, due to their small size, are usually not visible when they are standing or playing behind a car. This puts them at risk of being run over by drivers who don’t see them while they’re backing up out of parking spaces or driveways. Don’t rely on backup cameras to alert you!
  • Dart-out accidents: Children, especially small children, are often incapable of recognizing dangerous situations. They may not realize how fast a car is approaching or what could happen if they were hit. A driver could potentially be liable when a child darts out suddenly into the road if they were in an area where children are often outside, such as in a residential area, or near a bus stop, school, or park. Be aware of your surroundings and where children may be playing any time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle!
  • Children’s smaller size: Because children are much smaller than adults, it is often more difficult for drivers to see them at all, especially in vehicles that are higher off the ground like SUVs and pickups. However, this is still no excuse—drivers have a responsibility to watch for all pedestrians, including children.

Children are More Likely to Get Severely Injured in Accidents than Adults

It’s important to remember that children are not just smaller adults, either mentally or physically. Children’s bodies are smaller and not fully developed, so any injuries they suffer are more likely to be severe. Their small height also means they are more likely to be struck in the head or neck in a collision with a vehicle, rather than the chest or lower body.

Younger children are also less likely to be able to explain what hurts or to ask for help after being injured, making it harder to diagnose their injuries and the severity of their injuries. Emotional distress from an injury or traumatic experience such as a car accident is also more likely to be severe in children.

Are Children at Fault for Running into the Road?

Most parents teach their children to look both ways before crossing the road or to hold an adult’s hand when crossing, but at what age can you trust a child to understand why they need to do that?

In personal injury law, there is something called “assumption of risk,” which means that if someone is warned that something is dangerous and they do it with full knowledge and understanding of how dangerous it is, no one else can be held responsible for their injuries.

When children are involved, the measure of responsibility can change. While an adult will be charged with knowing that stepping into the street without looking both ways is dangerous, a child isn’t necessarily held to that standard. Depending on how old they are, the law may even find it impossible for them to understand why or how it is dangerous.

Georgia law doesn’t clearly define when children of “tender years” (13 years old or younger) can understand dangerous situations. According to the current legal code, it’s usually decided on a case-by-case basis and not based on the “average child of [the] child’s own age.”

If your child has been injured after being struck by a car, and the driver or their insurance provider is trying to blame your child, contact a lawyer immediately. We can help you prove your child was not at fault.

Get Gary Bruce After a Pedestrian Accident

Many modern American cities were not built to accommodate pedestrians, and this puts people, and especially small children, in danger each and every day. Children are often not even safe from being struck by cars when playing outside their own homes.

After a tragic accident that injures your child, we can help. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation, and we’ll help you determine how you can get the compensation you need to help your family and your child recover.