WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- As children return to school, those driving should be on the lookout for teens phoning or texting while walking, a U.S. non-profit group warns.
Kate Carr, president and chief executive officer of Safe Kids Worldwide in Washington, said a Safe Kids study found an upward trend in pedestrian injuries among teens.
In the last five years, injuries among teens ages 16-19 increased 25 percent over the previous five years. Today, those ages 14-19 account for 50 percent of child pedestrian injuries, Carr said.
"We suspect one cause of this disturbing trend is distraction, since the increase in teen injuries seems to correlate with the prevalence of cellphone use, both among walkers and drivers," Carr said in a statement.
Parents and caregivers have to be especially vigilant around roadways. Deaths among new walkers, ages 1-2, are second only to teenagers.
The study said walking safety improved overall for children since 1995, but there are still a staggering number of children hit by cars -- more than 61 children are injured every day severely enough to seek medical attention, and more than 500 children are killed every year.