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According to data released today by Safe Kids Worldwide, kids’ pedestrian deaths dramatically dropped in the last decade. Safe Kids Worldwide is a children’s safety group that promotes changes in laws and attitudes to prevent accidental injury to children. Prevention of personal injury is always more effective than hiring an attorney later. In fact, pedestrian death rates among children are down 40% since 1995. That is great news, so why the drop?

There are many reasons for the drop in accident rates among children. One major factor is that fewer children are walking to school. In 1969, 42% of children under 14 walked to school, as of 2001 that number drops to 16%. Another reason is that more and more auto makers are adding safety features to their cars to reduce the chance of injury or death in case of an accident.

Since Japan and Europe have more pedestrian accidents than the US, they have tougher regulations when it comes to safety features in their cars. Honda, Toyota and Volvo are the leading auto manufacturers in this new trend. Toyota’s vice president of safety regulation, Chris Tinto admits, “it’s a big challenge” when confronted with improving safety and design of their cars. Honda and Acura have over 5 million vehicles with pedestrian safety already on the road and all 2007 model-year vehicles will feature these new designs.

Making car hoods softer and better able to absorb the impact of a child or an adult’s body are some of the changes being made. They are also adding space between the engine and the hood and making hood hinges collapsible. Volvo has adapted a new sensor technology that will help reduce collisions with people. The sensors can already sense the presence of another car and automatically start the braking process. Their next step is to develop further these sensors to detect the presence of people.

Even with all of the new auto safety features, children are still vulnerable when around cars. Here are a few safety tips to teach your children while they walk:

· Always stop at the curb before crossing the street. In our cases it has been our experience that children run into the street because they are not taught this simple lesson.
· Try to always cross at a signal light or crosswalk · Don’t cross the street alone if you’re under 10 years old · Look left, right, and left again before crossing · Make sure drivers see you before walking onto the crosswalk · Do not play in driveways, street, or parking lots
Prevention saves a lot of grief and personal injury.

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