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December 1985

Pedestrian Injury: The Next Motor Vehicle Injury Challenge

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, and the Division of General and Emergency Pediatrics, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(12):1187-1190. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140140021016

• Motor vehicle injuries are the leading causes of death and disability in childhood after age 1 year. Educational efforts by physicians and public policy have focused on the protection of motor vehicle occupants. However, fatal pedestrian injuries are more common than fatal occupant injuries in preschool and school-aged children. The importance of pedestrian injury as a cause of early childhood morbidity and mortality is likely to become even clearer in the coming years as passenger injury rates decline. Existing patterns and trends in pedestrian injury statistics are poorly understood. The development of effective strategies for injury prevention requires greater understanding of how and why pedestrian injuries occur. Improved knowledge is needed that concerns the roles of environmental, psychosocial, medical, and behavioral factors in child pedestrian injury. Multidisciplinary accident investigation, which involves physicians, traffic engineers, psychologists, and social scientists, is most likely to provide the information needed to develop candidate educational and environmental strategies for study. Prevention of child pedestrian injury is a challenge that has not yet been addressed by pediatricians or policymakers. Pediatricians can promote and direct a national focus on this area that has been understudied by researchers, public health officials, and policymakers.

(AJDC 1985;139:1187-1190)