ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Crossing roads safely: The effects of training on improving children?s road crossing decisions

Congiu, Melinda, Whelan, Michelle I., Oxley, Jennifer, D'Elia, Angelo, Charlton, Judith, Fildes, Brian

2007

Pedestrian crashes are among the most common causes of death and serious injury to young children in the developed world. An initial phase of our research showed that younger children (6-7 year olds) and those with poor or under-developed functional skills may be at higher risk of crash involvement, compared with older children with well developed skills. While education is considered an essential tool to teach children road safety skills, current programs may be limited because they may not target specific skills and are not tailored for those who are most in need of training. A practical education and training program using a simulated road environment was developed that aimed at improving road-crossing skills amongst children most at risk. The training provided intensive positive and negative feedback on road-crossing choices and focussed on identification of safe traffic gaps, and assessing time gap rather than distance or speed alone when making crossing judgements. The effectiveness of the training package was assessed using a case-control study design, and compared road-crossing responses prior to, immediately after, and approximately one month after training. The findings showed significant reductions in critically incorrect responses (where a child decided to cross but the time gap was too small for a safe crossing) immediately after training (56%) and one month after training (47%) by the case group (n=34), compared to responses prior to training, and relative to any changes in the control group (n=28). The results show that the training program is a safe and effective way to improve children?s road-crossing skills.