The common mistake you're probably making crossing the street

Trauma expert warns parents, pedestrians about street safety to protect kids

ROANOKE, Va. – After two young girls were hit by a car in Roanoke City, a Carilion Children's Hospital pediatric trauma expert is warning parents about a common mistake people often make while crossing the street.

The trauma expert, Tanya Trevilian, and SafeKids Worldwide, a group dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries, offered the following advice:

1. Teach kids at a young age to always look both ways, use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal.

2. Children under 10 years old need to cross the street with an adult.

3. Don't run. Walk slowly across the street and make eye contact with drivers.

Trevilian said walking slowly and making eye contact with drivers gives people on the road more time to notice pedestrians and react. 

According to the most recent data collected by the Roanoke City Police Department, since 2014, 19 kids under 10 years old were hurt in pedestrian crashes in the city, averaging nearly four a year.

That's why Trevilian and parents in the area agreed that teaching kids about street safety when they're young is crucial.

"To make sure that they know the best places to cross the street, the best ways to cross the street and to definitely be free of distractions," Trevilian said.

Corbin Overstreet tries to teach his grandkids -- 4-year-old Luke and 2-year-old Hannakate -- to look both ways before crossing, hold an adult's hand and don't run into the street.

"You just have to keep an eye on them all the time," Overstreet said.

Another parent, Jody Katter, said drivers in the Roanoke area don't usually stop when people are waiting to cross. She has three kids under 5, so she said she's always on the lookout.

"I teach them that they always have to hold my hand, and I'm always on the lookout when I'm driving," Katter said. "Especially if there's kids around."

In the U.S., more than 70% of deadly child pedestrian crashes happen when they crossed someplace other than an intersection, according to SafeKids.

So whether you're walking, skateboarding or on a bike, Katter and Overstreet said guardians need to always watch their kids and set good examples. 

"Little ones are precious," Overstreet said. "You want to protect them. We have to protect them because they're too young to know themselves how to protect themselves."

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