From 2008-2012, pedestrian injuries were the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among Massachusetts children 5-18 years of age, resulting in 5 deaths on average each year. In addition, there was an average of 832 hospital stays and emergency department visits (combined) annually associated with nonfatal pedestrian injuries among this population during the fiscal years 2011 through 2013.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration reported that of all traffic-related pedestrian fatalities that occurred in the U.S. in 2012, 73% were in an urban setting, 70% happened at non-intersections and 89% happened on clear/cloudy days.

School and Community Goals

  • help students understand pedestrian hazards and how to avoid them;
  • demonstrate and practice with students safe street crossing;
  • teach traffic signs and signals, and safe walking zones;
  • promote the use of retro-reflective clothing and accessories when walking in the dark;
  • develop pedestrian policies for the school community;
  • create pedestrian crossing areas safe from bus and auto traffic;
  • encourage parent participation in teaching and reinforcing safe pedestrian behaviors;
  • promote involvement of municipal and community agencies in creating safe walking policies, safe walking areas and enforcing pedestrian-related traffic laws; and
  • ensure that a responsible adult is available to supervise children under age 9 around traffic.

Suggested Activities

Teach pedestrian safety in the classroom at the beginning of each year. Role modeling of safe pedestrian behaviors by school personnel is recommended to reinforce positive behaviors among children. Young children learn safety behavior by mimicking adults. Walking field trips provide excellent opportunities to model safe street crossing. Sponsor health and safety events for children and parents involving police, EMS, Scouts, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Resources: Safety officers, curricula, videos, activity books, games, SAFESCHOOL, SAFE KIDS Traffic Safety Magazine, AAA, National Safety Council's Child Safety Club, Channing Bete Co.(, catalogs of retro-reflective items, NHTSA's Pedestrian Safety Program.

For More Information

This information is provided by the School Health Services within the Department of Public Health.