NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas emergency responders are concerned about the number of children hit by cars in recent weeks and they are urging parents and motorists to take precautions.
Five-year-old Kayla Hayes died after being struck by a motorist as she and a number of other children were crossing the street in Fort Worth to go play at a nearby park.
Paramedics with MedStar say they are concerned there could be more injuries and fatalities during Spring Break, when a lot of children are outside.
“Afterwards it’s just so heartbreaking because there’s often times we have to tell those parents there’s nothing we can do,” Macara Trusty, a MedStar paramedic and mother of two daughters, said sympathetically. “It doesn’t take a high rate of speed to kill a child. Give to 10 miles an hour is all it takes.”
According to the Fort Worth Fire Department, 162 people were struck by motor vehicles in the last 13 months. That number includes adults and children. In Dallas, the number is much higher. Dallas Fire Rescue reports some 1087 people were hit by motor vehicles in that same time period – that’s more than six times the rate in Fort Worth.
“We see a lot of broken bones,” explained Rebecca DePalma, Physician Assistant at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. “A few of them require care in our ICU (Intensive Care Unit).”
First responders in Fort Worth say most children struck by cars do survive, but the average age of children hit by motor vehicles is eight-years-old.
MedStar has responded to 42 life-threatening pedestrian crashes involving children under 14 in the past year and five in the past month. Paramedics say the crashes are preventable and they are urging parents and motorists to review these tips, even if you have heard them before.
– Parents teach children to cross streets at the crosswalk, using traffic signals
– Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing
– Look left and right and left again when crossing
– Walk, don’t run, across the street
– Walk on sidewalks and paths
– Watch for cars that are turning or backing up
– Require children hold hands when in parking lots
– Never allow children under the age of 10 to cross streets alone
– Make sure children know to cross 10 feet in front of a school bus and never behind one
– Teach children never to run out into the street to catch a ball or a pet
– Provide a safe place for kids to play
– Pedestrians can be hard to see, particularly children. Keep a lookout for them.
– Slow down in residential neighborhoods
– Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross
– Don’t assume pedestrians see you
– Be especially attentive around schools
– Drive the way you would want people to drive in front of your home
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