Community programs to reduce the toll from pedestrian injuries in childhood must include parents as a key element. This study, consisting of a survey questionnaire, was undertaken to provide information concerning current parent attitudes and practices that could be used to guide prevention programs. The survey consisted of 2464 questionnaires from parents of children in grades kindergarten to four in a suburban school district. Although 94% of parents did not believe that 5- to 6- year-old children can reliably cross streets alone, one third of parents allowed kindergarten-aged children to cross residential streets alone and first-grade children to walk alone to school. The presence of speeding traffic or the lack of safe places to walk did not influence parents in limiting their children's crossings. Few (17%) parents believed that children should be taught not to cross alone; one half of parents, including 41% of parents of kindergarten-aged children believed that children should be taught to cross busy streets without traffic lights. According to results of the study, parent expectations for their children's pedestrian skills may be inappropriate and may be a fruitful target for injury-prevention programs.

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