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Summer and rush hour can be dangerous times for child pedestrians

Ellen Abbott
South Clinton Street in downtown Syracuse.

Four children in central New York were hit by cars last week and three of them died from their injuries. It can be a dangerous time of year for kids out of school.

Sgt. Jon Seeber with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office said they have seen this increase in kids being hit by cars during the summer before and many times it comes down to child pedestrian errors.

“They tend to play, talk and not pay attention to cars when crossing the street,” Seeber said. "I think it is really important for parents and adults that we supervise them as best we can."

Seeber said when they hold pedestrian and bicycle safety talks with kids, they give them a phrase.

“Stop, look and listen, before crossing the street, entering traffic," Seeber said. "We try to educate them to use the crosswalks, use the intersections to cross, don’t cross in the middle of the road. It comes down to paying attention.”

Lindsay Hawkins with AAA said eight out of ten pedestrian fatalities occur outside of intersections.

“It happens out of the blue, it happens when someone wasn’t paying attention,” Hawkins said.

And she said between 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. is a particularly dangerous time for children in the streets.

“That’s when kids are out of school, that’s when most people are commuting home from work," Hawkins said. "It’s a pretty bad combination when you think of it because people just want to get home and kids want to get outside and play.”

Three out of the four accidents of kids hit by cars in central New York last week, occurred during that time frame. Hawkins encourages kids to look left, right, left before crossing the street.

"We recommend that kids wear brightly colored clothing, whether they are on their bikes or whether they're walking," Hawkins said. "We say to travel in groups and make sure they treat a stop sign like a stop light."

Later this month, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office will host a share the road expo at Destiny USA, geared towards kids, to promote traffic safety.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.