Child Pedestrian Accidents: Understanding the Causes

Child on pavement

Many child deaths have occurred in completely preventable pedestrian accidents, with the highest number being those hit by motorists.

Child pedestrian accidents are often fatal. Children who do survive are also often left with permanent disabilities or psychological trauma. To prevent such horrific accidents, one needs first to understand the causes.

How Do Child Pedestrian Accidents Occur?

Here is how accidents involving children and motorists happen. You might be shocked that most of them are preventable since most occur due to driver negligence and other erratic behaviors such as:

  • Being drunk behind the wheel
  • Reverse accidents
  • Ignoring school-zone speed limits
  • Smartphone use by drivers
  • Jaywalking
  • Parents’ gross negligence.

1. Being drunk behind the wheel

A drunk driver cannot control their thoughts or feelings. Most of them only realize they have committed a crime when sobering up. That is the case with most child pedestrian accidents. Many intoxicated drivers lose control and end up hitting children walking or playing by the road.

2. Reverse Accidents

Occasionally, children get struck by drivers backing out of a driveway or parking space. Such types of accidents are common, especially in parking lots. Most children get hit as they like playing around parked cars.

Drivers are prone to making mistakes. They may reverse their vehicles without checking whoever is behind them. As a result, they might end up hitting a child sitting or playing behind the car.

3. Ignoring school-zone speed limits

A high number of child pedestrian accidents happen in school zones. They happen mostly before and after school hours. Failure to obey low-speed limit rules is the reason behind drivers hitting school-going children.

There are specific speed limits in school zones that drivers must adhere to when they reach such areas. However, many drivers speed in such zones and risk striking school-aged children who may fail to cross the road carefully.

4. Smartphone Use by Drivers

Despite authorities’ strict measures, drivers still use their phones while driving. Smart devices can make drivers shift their full attention to other things than the road. It takes just a few seconds of distracted driving to cause an accident.

For instance, when a driver receives a call while driving, they can’t concentrate fully on what’s going on the road. Therefore, it’s no doubt distracted driving is tied to countless road crashes, especially when children are involved.

5. Jaywalking

Children don’t know traffic rules, and if they do know them, they often fail to grasp the consequences of not following them. Many unsupervised children walk or play in the middle of the road ending up hit by motorists.

6. Parents’ (Gross) Negligence

Sometimes, parents are to blame for child pedestrian accidents. They fail to follow up on their children. Others don’t even care where their children are until dinner time. As much as it’s impossible to control a child all the time, they must protect their children, especially when on the road. Parents should hold children’s hands when crossing a street and know about their whereabouts.


Pedestrian accidents are common, but it breaks one’s heart to learn that a child was killed or maimed for life in a completely preventable accident. To keep your child safe on the road, you need to know the most common causes for pedestrian accidents.