We began our search by watching Dr. Renshaw's
presentation on Pedestrian Safety. This is a wonderful
place to begin learning about safety. I urge you to
download and preview before you share it with your
students. I guarantee a lively discussion!
Right click here to download the ppt file to your computer
I prepared the students before we began because this is
NOT pleasant information. I was not showing this
presentation to scare the children. As we watch this
together, I was you to think about why this is so
important. "What you'll see is a presentation
prepared by a surgeon for other doctors. I'm showing this
to you because it is a study which affects us!" They
watched it and later analyzed the information. This
PowerPoint presentation is based on the study,
"Prevention of Childhood Pedestrian Trauma"
which appeared in The Journal of Bone and Joint
Surgery in 2002.
QUESTION: What were the most surprising facts you
learned from this presentation?
You will discover that. . ..
"Pediatric trauma in the USA
kills more children than all diseases combined. There are
as many as "22,000 deaths" a year!.
(In my classroom, there was a collective gasp when we
Most Common Causes of Childhood
Falls from heights
Young children are
more in danger of pedestrian trauma because:
They cant tell where sounds come from
They cant judge how fast traffic is moving
They have a field of vision 1/3 that of adults
They dont recognize danger or react to it
They think of cars as friendly, living creatures
Child Pedestrian Injuries are the 2nd leading cause of
death in ages 5-9, behind cancer and account for 30-50%
of all trauma hospitalizations.
But. . . there is good news. . .
In New Haven, where Dr. Renshaw conducted his study,
"Child pedestrian injuries in New Haven, CT have
been reduced by 61% over a six year period."
In the year, 1992-93 there were 223 injuries.
Following the implementation of reforms suggested by the
study six years later, in 1998-99, these injuries were
reduced to 87.
"Child pedestrian injuries and deaths can be
reduced without political battles and without changing
the intractable problems of poverty and over-population.
You can do this in your community!"
We took Dr. Renshaw's directive seriously. We
set about to take on the safety of the children in our
school. Though we did not feel that we could change
housing patterns, as in the original study, the students
never doubted that they could have a positive impact on
This hits home!
The class could hardly be contained following this
presentation. Almost every student knew at least one
place near school where a car accident had occurred. They
independently suggested photographing these
"dangerous" places in the neighborhood, which
we did. Though we were all shocked by the fact that
pedestrian injuries accounted for so many
hospitalizations, we were not surprised that this is a
serious safety problem in the inner city. We thought it
would be a good idea to try to interview a crossing guard
and a community officer from the local precinct to find
out about pedestrian accidents. They asked these
community experts about ways they could help children
cross streets safely. "What is the biggest problem
you have with children pedestrians?" "What
would you include in a safety program for children?"
The students wanted to try to get statistics from the
local hospital, just like Dr. Renshaw had. My students,
fifth graders, provided many insights into this problem.
They were concerned with drivers who talk on cell phones
and don't always notice children. They worried about
large trucks, ambulances, drivers who don't seem to be
concentrating, and lights which don't provide enough time
to cross. "When young children watch cartoons,"
they told me, "they begin to think that cars and
buses are friendly. Even if one struck them, they think
they can just get up.. . like a cartoon character."
Our first discussion... . Observations:
March 8, 2003
Car accidents in the neighborhood involve children
Trucks not noticing young children
Drivers should be more careful
Drivers with cell phones dont notice children
We should take pictures of dangerous places
Not enough time to cross the street
Cars going on through stop light
Not concentrating while drivers driving
One student handed me a note as he left class. "Can
we do a Class Science Project like this?" This
information definitely hit home!
Project: How can we decrease the amount of child car
Students were asked to make observations as they
walked to and from school. This would soon become more
formalized when we used the walkable checklist
which we downloaded from this site. The students began
thinking of ways they could gather data. Could we get
statistics? Who could we speak with who could provide
Dr. Renshaw's quotation
was already beginning to ring true. . . Never doubt
that a small group of people can change the world, in
fact its the only thing that ever has.
Todd Schuetz at the
American Academy of Orthopedic surgeons in Rosemont,
Illinois was kind enough to fax the actual study to me. A press release about the study can be accessed here. I was constantly amazed
how generous everyone was with information and time.