Training Children in Pedestrian Safety: Distinguishing Gains in Knowledge from Gains in Safe Behavior
- 421 Downloads
Pedestrian injuries contribute greatly to child morbidity and mortality. Recent evidence suggests that training within virtual pedestrian environments may improve children’s street crossing skills, but may not convey knowledge about safety in street environments. We hypothesized that (a) children will gain pedestrian safety knowledge via videos/software/internet websites, but not when trained by virtual pedestrian environment or other strategies; (b) pedestrian safety knowledge will be associated with safe pedestrian behavior both before and after training; and (c) increases in knowledge will be associated with increases in safe behavior among children trained individually at streetside locations, but not those trained by means of other strategies. We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial evaluating pedestrian safety training. We randomly assigned 240 children ages 7–8 to one of four training conditions: videos/software/internet, virtual reality (VR), individualized streetside instruction, or a no-contact control. Both virtual and field simulations of street crossing at 2-lane bi-directional mid-block locations assessed pedestrian behavior at baseline, post-training, and 6-month follow-up. Pedestrian knowledge was assessed orally on all three occasions. Children trained by videos/software/internet, and those trained individually, showed increased knowledge following training relative to children in the other groups (ps < 0.01). Correlations between pedestrian safety knowledge and pedestrian behavior were mostly non-significant. Correlations between change in knowledge and change in behavior from pre- to post-intervention also were non-significant, both for the full sample and within conditions. Children trained using videos/software/internet gained knowledge but did not change their behavior. Children trained individually gained in both knowledge and safer behavior. Children trained virtually gained in safer behavior but not knowledge. If VR is used for training, tools like videos/internet might effectively supplement training. We discovered few associations between knowledge and behavior, and none between changes in knowledge and behavior. Pedestrian safety knowledge and safe pedestrian behavior may be orthogonal constructs that should be considered independently for research and training purposes.
KeywordsInjury Walking Children Virtual reality
Thanks to Elizabeth O’Neal, Anna Johnston, Ksenia Shingareva, and the students of the UAB Youth Safety Lab for their extensive help with data collection, entry, and coding; Jodie Plumert and Kathy Christoffel for consulting advice; Aeron Gault for IT support; and the Digital Artefacts team for VR development and support. The research was supported by Award Number R01HD058573 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (1994). Otto the auto on school bus safety [short film]. Washington, DC: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.Google Scholar
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (2006). Otto the Auto Series [short film]. Washington, DC: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.Google Scholar
- Bart, O., Katz, N., Weiss, P. L., & Josman, N. (2008). Street crossing by typically developed children in real and virtual environments. OTJR: Occupation Participation Health, 28, 89–96.Google Scholar
- California State Automobile Association. (2014). Safer Journey [website]. Available from http://www.ottoclub.org/.
- Demetre, J. D., Lee, D. N., Grieve, R., Pitcairn, T. K., Ampofo-Boateng, K., & Thomson, J. A. (1993). Young children’s learning on road-crossing simulations. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 63, 348–358.Google Scholar
- FHWA (2014). Safer Journey [website]. Available from http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferjourney1/.
- Honda Motor Company. (2005). Step to Safety with Asimo [short film]. Torrance, CA: Honda Motor Company.Google Scholar
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2013). WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). Retrieved 18 April 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html.
- NHTSA. (2014). Stop and Look with Willie the Whistle. Available from http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/willie/video.html.
- ORCAS. (2014). Walk smart [computer software]. Eugene OR: ORCAS.Google Scholar
- Schwebel, D. C., McClure, L. A., & Severson, J. (in press). Teaching children to cross streets safely: A randomized controlled trial. Health Psychology. doi: 10.1037/hea0000032.
- Tolmie, A. K., Thomson, J. A., Foot, H. D., Whelan, K. M., McLaren, B., & Morrison, S. (2005). The effects of adult guidance and peer discussion on the development of children’s representations: Evidence from the training of pedestrian skills. British Journal of Psychology, 96, 181–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Toroyan, T., & Peden, M. (Eds.). (2007). Youth and road safety. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
- van Schagen, I. N. L. G. (1988). Training children to make safe crossing decisions. In T. Rothengatter & R. de Bruin (Eds.), Road user behaviour: Theory and research (pp. 482–489). Assen/Maastricht, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
- Walt Disney Pictures. (1956). I’m no fool as a pedestrian [short film]. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions.Google Scholar