Residential streets are more dangerous than we think and with an estimated 24-hundred children being injured annually in pedestrian accidents, Safe Kids Canada is asking drivers to slow down.
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Sherry Damatarca: It is estimated that a staggering 2400 children under the age of 14 are injured in child pedestrian incidents across Canada every year and another 30 are killed and even more disturbing and majority of these incidents are happening on residential streets. Pamela Fuselli is the Executive Director at Safe Kids Canada and says, Canadian drivers and parents need to do more to make our neighborhood safe for pedestrians. Pamela Fuselli: Child pedestrian injuries are main cause of death in hospitalization to Canadian kids and we know that they are preventable. We teach kids that it’s safer to cross the street at intersections and cross walks, but in reality, they are being hit in residential areas in intersections and largely because the drivers are speeding. Evidence shows that drivers can avoid incidents of children by driving the speed limit. So we are encouraging drivers first to know what speed they are driving, to be aware of their speed and to drive the posted limit no more. It makes the difference; it could be the difference between life and death to a child. Sherry Damatarca: Research demonstrates that a child hit by a car traveling at 50 kilometers an hour has an 80% chance of being killed. Yet a child hit by a car traveling at 30 kilometers an hour, has that through a 95% chance of surviving. Pamela Fuselli: Research shows that 14% of Canadian drivers admit to driving 10 kilometers or more about the speed limit in residential areas. Given that residential speeds are 40 to 50 kilometers an hour that translates into an average speed of 50 to 60 kilometers. Of the drivers who admit to driving over the speed limit in residential areas, 52% of them drives during the hours between 3 and 6 pm which is when children are outdoors walking and playing. Sherry Damatarca: As part of its 2008 campaign, Safe Roads, Safe Kids, Safe Kids Canada is encouraging Canadians to take part in the Community Pace Car program. Pamela Fuselli: We are asking drivers to slow down and drive the posted speed limit in residential areas. They can sign up to be a community pace car and by doing that, they’d become mobile speed bumps ensuring that the traffic around them also slows down. The more Canadians who do this the safer the neighborhoods will be and people can find more information at whatstherush.ca. Drivers need to take responsibility for children on the roads. Children are still developing their mental and physical capacities well into their teen and they lack the proper judgment in crossing road safely. Sherry Damatarca: Safe Kids Week runs from May 26th to June 1st and Safe Kids Canada, along with Johnson & Johnson, are offering a free Safe Roads, Safe Kids brochure online at safekidscanada.ca. For more information on this year’s Safe Roads, Safe Kids campaign and the Community Pace Car program, check out safekidscanada.ca. Sherry Damatarca reporting.

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