Pedestrian injuries remain the most common cause of death from trauma for young school-age children. This study was based on the hypothesis that parents' abilities to accurately assess their children's street-crossing skills vary with the crossing test and age of the children, being less accurate for younger children. Children at three developmental levels (aged 5 through 6, 7 through 8, and 9 through 10 years) and their parents were evaluated on four street-crossing tests and a control vocabulary test. For each test, children's answers were compared to parents' estimates of their children's performance. Parents overestimated the abilities of their 5- through 6-year-olds on all four tests (P < .01). Parents overestimated the abilities of 7- through 8-year-olds on two of the tests (P < .05) and parents accurately assessed the abilities of the 9- through 10-year-olds. On the vocabulary test, parents overestimated their children's performance at all age levels (P < .01). The results support the hypothesis and indicate that parents' expectations for their children's pedestrian skills are least accurate for 5- and 6-year-olds, with the mismatch decreasing as children get older. Inaccurate expectations of children's pedestrian skills may be a fruitful target for injury prevention programs.
- Received May 28, 1991.
- Accepted August 21, 1991.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics