The "devil's seven-year-old"

is said to be a seven-year-old who stands out and is easily hit by a car.
"Watch out for the car!" and "Look closely!"
Those words that I just say don't actually get through to my children.

What should we do to
protect the shiny first-year students carrying their new school bags?
(Osaka Broadcasting Station Reporter Fumi Nakamoto)

"Already in elementary school" before you think so

This is data by age of traffic accidents in which pedestrians were hit by cars nationwide in Reiwa 3.

The number of 7-year-olds is by far the highest at 732.

After that, it goes down and by the age of 10, it is about half, and it is no different from an adult.

Why are 7-year-olds so prone to accidents?

In the background, there seems to be an adult belief that "it's okay because you're already in elementary school."

We asked Mayumi Oka, a specially appointed researcher at Osaka University's Graduate School of Accidents, who works to prevent accidents among children.

. Oka: "When you become an elementary school student, you start to act alone on your way to and from school, but in fact, you still don't know the traffic rules. You don't grow up suddenly,"

he said, and when he was in kindergarten, he must have walked with his parents.

Just because you're in elementary school doesn't mean you suddenly know the traffic rules.

Some children study in transportation classes at kindergartens and nursery schools, but according to Oka, they often only know how to cross at the green light.

You don't know the meaning of the car turn signals, or you can't read the signs and the word "stop" on the road.

It means that there are many things that are too natural for adults and are not taught.

Accidents start after the long holidays!

In addition, there are periods when accidents in first-year students are particularly frequent.

Looking at the number of accidents among first-year students compiled by month, the number of accidents was higher in May and June than in April.

In April, immediately after enrollment, parents accompany students and go to and from school in groups, and volunteers are active in watching over the students.

However, after the long holidays, such tension is relieved for both children and the adults around them.

It is believed that accidents will increase after May, when people start walking alone.

Also, be careful in autumn.

This is because the twilight time, when it is dim and it is difficult for the driver to see pedestrians, overlaps with the time when returning home.

Hints for reducing accidents after the age of 7

So how can a 7-year-old accident be prevented?

Ms. Oka mentions "teaching many times since she was a preschooler."

In the accident data by age, the number of accidents decreases after peaking at the age of 7.

Thanks to the data, there are countless "near-misses" that almost became accidents.

Oka believes that the decrease in accidents after the age of seven is the result of children who do not understand the rules having scary experiences with "near-misses" and becoming more cautious in their actions.

This means that as long as you understand the rules, you should be able to act cautiously even at the age of 7 and prevent accidents.

. Yumi Oka: "From the age of 7 or 5, please watch over and walk while teaching the route to and from school many times. It is important to be close to the child's slow understanding."

"Look closely!" doesn't convey

However, he emphasizes that there are tips for teaching the rules based on the characteristics of children.

The first thing to understand is the narrowness of children's perspectives.

The field of view of adults is visible to the edge of the screen.

However, the child's field of view is only the area of the central circle.

It is said that children's field of view is about 60% that of adults.

In terms of angle, you can only see about 90 degrees.

I tend to say, "Look closely!", but I watch hard as a child.

It's just out of your field of vision and you can't see it.

For this reason, it is necessary to teach specific points to look at, such as "shake your head to that telephone pole."

Second, children cannot understand "ambiguous words."

It's easy to say, "Watch out for your car," but children don't know how to be careful.

Tell them in detail where and what to pay attention to,
such as "stop in front of the pedestrian crossing and see if a car is coming" or
"check if the car is reflected in the mirror".

Children are also characterized by a strong "impulsiveness" peculiar to their developmental stage.

When you get carried away with something, such as chasing the ball and jumping out, you will act in an action where you can't see the surroundings.

Because of this characteristic, if you call out from the other side of the road, you may jump out and try to cross the road without looking around.

Please be careful not to call out across the road.

In order to protect children's lives, it is important for adults around them to be attentive to them after understanding the characteristics of their developmental progress.

If you see a child on the road, please watch over them to see if they are dangerous.

Above all, adults driving cars should slow down and pay close attention when they see children.

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