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Top Story

Why children struggle to cross busy streets safely

For adults, crossing the street by foot seems easy. You take stock of the traffic and calculate the time it will take to get from one side to the other without being hit. Yet it’s anything but simple for a child. New research shows children under certain ages lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger. The researchers placed children from 6 to 14 years old in a realistic simulated environment and asked them to cross one lane of a busy road multiple times. The results: Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only by age 14 did children navigate street crossing without incident, while 12-year-olds mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps in traffic.

Visit Website | Image credit: Tim Schoon/University of Iowa