(HealthDay News) – Pedestrian-motor vehicle injuries in children frequently result from unsafe crossing practices, often despite supervision, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct 20–23 in New Orleans.

Nina E Glass, MD, from the New York University Langone School of Medicine/Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, and colleagues prospectively collected data on all pedestrians struck by motor vehicles who presented to a level-1 trauma center in New York City from 2008–2011. Data were stratified according to age and behavioral variables.

The researchers found that, of 1,075 patients, 13% were <18 years old. Compared with adult patients, children were more often male (65% vs. 53%); more likely to have minor injuries (82% vs. 73%); and were more likely to be discharged without admission (70% vs. 67%). Crossing streets midblock and darting into the street were common causes of accidents in all children; with younger children (0–6 years) this was in spite of supervision. About half of 7- to 12-year-olds (53%) and most 13- to 17-year-olds (88%) were unsupervised. Electronic device use was the cause of injury twice as frequently in teenagers than in adults (18% vs. 9%).

“Improving guardian supervision, educating children on safe crossing behaviors, and minimizing common distractors must be components of any comprehensive pediatric injury prevention program,” the authors write.

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