In Massachusetts, pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among school-aged children 5-18 years of age. Each year, there are approximately 11 deaths and over 1300 nonfatal pedestrian injuries in this population. Adolescents, 15-18 years old, have the highest rates of nonfatal pedestrian injuries compared with their school age counterparts. Boys are also 1.5 times more likely to be injured as pedestrians than girls.

The likelihood of hitting a child pedestrian is higher when the motorist is returning home from work. Most child pedestrian injuries occur between 3:00 and 5:00 PM. For K-3 most injuries occur by running into the street mid-block, while older children are most often injured at intersections.

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

Injury Prevention and Control Program, DPH
Phone: 617-624-5413 Fax: 617-624-5075

National Center for Safe Routes to School

Boston Public Health Commission's Childhood Injury Prevention Program
Phone: 617-534-5197

Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts
Phone: 413-794-5434

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


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