Motor Vehicles Leading Cause of NYC Child Injury Deaths

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According to a new study out from the city’s Department of Health, children in New York are seven times less likely than children nationwide to die as car passengers. That’s the good news, likely the result of the fact that our kids spend a lot less time in cars than most American children.

The bad news is that motor vehicles are still the leading cause of accidental child deaths in New York City; 85 percent of motor-vehicle-related deaths involved children who were pedestrians.

Here are some interesting highlights from the study, which covers the years 2001 through 2005:

  • Driver error alone was cited most frequently (39%) as the main contributing factor; pedestrian error alone was cited 29% of the time; and in 17% of cases both driver and pedestrian error contributed. (DOT had no police report information to determine contributing factor for 9% of cases and contributing factor was unknown in 7% of cases.)
  • African American children represented 49% of all motor vehicle deaths even though they are only 29% of the City’s child population aged one to 12.
  • Boys accounted for nearly twice as many motor vehicle deaths as girls (64% vs. 34%).
  • Among the five boroughs, child death rates were highest in Brooklyn and Queens and lowest in Manhattan.
  • Children playing in the street, or darting out from between parked cars were common factors in child pedestrian deaths.
  • More than a third of child-pedestrian deaths involved light trucks, half of which were SUVs.
  • Half of child-pedestrian deaths occurred within 700 feet of a school, nearly all during the evenings, weekends, and summer.

The report suggests that parents educate their children about safe places to play, but it also suggests some infrastructure and legislative measures:

  • Expanding the transportation infrastructure to include more crosswalks and speed bumps, and working to ensure that all kids live within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground.
  • Creating a traffic safety website and launching a citywide awareness campaign.
  • Supporting state legislation to mandate cross-over mirrors for large commercial trucks.

You can download the full report here (PDF).

Photo: Vidiot via Flickr 

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