No parent with young children wants to even contemplate a child of theirs being hit by a car while playing in the neighborhood. The fact is, though, that it happens, and it happens far more often than most people probably realize. In 2009 it was estimated that, on average, every year about 900 pedestrians 18 or younger were killed in traffic accidents. An additional 51,000 were injured, with more than 5,000 of those requiring hospitalization. Younger children made up less than a quarter of those 18-and-under pedestrian fatalities, but big numbers are not necessary for something to be a tragedy. Every young child struck by a car, much less killed, is a tragedy.
Child Pedestrians are at Risk Near Traffic
There were 6,205 pedestrian deaths total in 2019, representing 17% of all traffic-accident deaths. However, those statistics include only traffic deaths, meaning those deaths that occurred on roadways. An estimated 7,668 pedestrians died in 2019 in all vehicular accidents, including those fatalities that happened in accidents that did not occur on public roads. That includes pedestrian deaths that happened in parking lots, driveways, and on private property, resulting in a higher total than reflected by only those pedestrian deaths that occurred on roadways. In 2019, there were 206 pedestrian deaths among children 15 years old and younger, and 424 among pedestrians 20 years old and younger. Of all child deaths in traffic accidents in 2019, 73% were occupants of passenger vehicles, while 16% of those children killed in traffic accidents in 2019 were pedestrians. About 20% of all child traffic fatalities under the age of 15 are pedestrians. Child pedestrian deaths have declined dramatically since 1975, decreasing by 92% from 1975 through 2019. Even so, pedestrians overall are 1.5 times more likely per trip to die in a traffic accident than are the occupants of passenger vehicles.