Heads Up, Phones Down

The phenomenon that is Pokémon Go has swept across the globe and captured the attention of millions of mobile users. It’s a game that uses your actual location and encourages players to discover and capture Pokémon by walking around your neighborhood and other areas. However, there has been some controversy circling the game including trespassing incidents, injuries from not looking up from their phone and car accidents, just to name a few. People are becoming even more distracted in their cars or walking down the street and the results can be deadly.

According to a 2012 www.safekids.org study, every day in the United States there are 61 children hit by cars. This most often occurs before or after school hours. It also occur most often in September, right when kids and teens are headed back to school which is just around the corner. It used to be that young children were the largest demographic affected but now it’s more likely that a teenager (age 15-19) will be hit by a car than a young child. In fact, over the past five years, teen death rates are twice as high compared to younger children and accounted for half of all child pedestrian injuries. But why is that? Studies show it’s related to distracted walking.

Distracted walking is as it sounds, someone who is walking but not paying attention to their surroundings. Often this is related to texting but there are other factors involved including mobile games like Pokémon Go. This of course is very dangerous not only to the person not paying attention, but to others who are sharing the road or sidewalk.

Below are some tips to help your child or teen (or even you!) avoid distracted walking:
• Always be aware of your surroundings
• Look both ways before crossing and be sure to use a crosswalk
• If you must walk on the street, face the direction of oncoming traffic
• Always walk on the sidewalk, if available
• Do not walk with headphones on
• If you need to text, stop and move out of the way of others

Although these types of accidents occur most often in September, it’s important to practice these tips year round.

Heads Up, Phones Down