Child Pedestrian Safety Education: Applying Learning and Developmental Theories to Develop Safe Street-Crossing Behaviors

Abstract

in the interest of information exchange. The opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Department of Transportation or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The United States Government assumes no liability for its content or use thereof. If trade or manufacturers' names or products are mentioned, it is because they are considered essential to the object of the publication and should not be construed as an endorsement. The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young children, and 20% of these fatalities among ages 5-9 represent child pedestrians. Recent discussions in the literature on child pedestrian education have argued the effectiveness of education approaches versus engineering approaches for increasing child pedestrian safety. One of the main arguments against education is that children rarely show increases in safe street-crossing behavior after education interventions. A majority of child pedestrian education in the United States utilizes videos and classroom instruction to teach young children. Often, these programs find an increase in children's knowledge of pedestrian safety but do not show similar gains in increasing children's safety behaviors. One possible explanation for this consistent finding is that psychological theories of learning and more updated child development theories are not often used when developing programs. Interventions based on relevant learning theories and child development might be more effective in increasing safe pedestrian behaviors in young children. This report scientifically reviews the literature on child pedestrian education and discusses possible child pedestrian safety programs that could be more effective in keeping child pedestrians safe. i ii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young children. Twenty percent of fatal crashes involving children between the ages of 5 and 9 involve pedestrian-related fatalities (NHTSA, 2008). The rise of childhood obesity coupled with the growing number of advocacy groups for increased walking and bicycling could result in an increase in child pedestrian fatalities if children are not properly educated to safely negotiate traffic. There is general agreement among traffic safety professionals that children under the age of 10 should not cross traffic alone; however, research has shown that parents believe children as young as 7.6 years are old enough to cross a street (MacGregor, Smiley, & Dunk, 1999). More than likely, children will find themselves crossing a street without …

Extracted Key Phrases

6 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Percer2009ChildPS, title={Child Pedestrian Safety Education: Applying Learning and Developmental Theories to Develop Safe Street-Crossing Behaviors}, author={Jenny Percer}, year={2009} }