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Are your kids at risk of getting hit by a car?

Kids are impulsive by nature. They don't have the mental or physical maturity to put the brakes on their exuberance when it is needed most, which can put them at risk of being in harm's way.

One of the ways children can be hurt is by getting struck by a car. Most of the fatal pedestrian accidents that involve children occur in the hours after they get out of school, and most of the victims are young boys.

Part of the risk comes from kids not fully understanding the traffic rules and how they affect pedestrians. Below are some common myths and realities. Knowing which is true could mean the difference between life or death to your children.

-- Myth: Crosswalks are always safe.

-- Reality: Crosswalks are the safest place to cross, but pedestrians still must stop, then look to the left, the right and back to the left before proceeding across the street,

-- Myth: Green lights indicate it's safe to cross.

-- Reality: The same applies as above, and remember to watch for cars making rights on red lights.

-- Myth: If you're walking at night, wear white so drivers can see you.

-- Reality: White is not effective at night, especially if it's foggy or misty. If you must walk at night, have a flashlight with you and wear clothing with reflective strips on the back.

-- Myth: As long as you can see drivers, they can see you.

-- Fact: Drivers don't always see kids, especially when they dart between cars into the street.

If your child gets injured in an auto-pedestrian collision, you will have to be his or her advocate to take any legal action and recover financial compensation for his or her losses and damages.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Prevent Pedestrian Crashes: Parents and Caregivers of Elementary School Children," accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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