A child with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has a greater chance of being hit by a car while walking about in the streets compared to other children without any developmental disability, researchers reported in the medical journal Pediatrics. Quite simply because they become easily distracted, the authors wrote.

Despina Stavrinos, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and team studied 78 kids between 7 and 10 years of age. They all had ADHD. They were compared to 39 children with normal development. 71% of them were boys.

Even though children with ADHD do follow pedestrian safety rules, such as waiting at the curbside, looking out for traffic before crossing, etc., they tend not to process the information to do this safely.

The authors wrote:

“Children with ADHD-C seem to display appropriate curbside pedestrian behavior but fail to process perceived information adequately to permit crossing safely.

Crossing the street safely requires the ability to plan and to inhibit responses such as darting into the street under unsafe conditions, both abilities controlled by the executive system and shown as central impairments in children with ADHD-C”

The researchers reported that a child with ADHD is more likely to walk into a small gap in the traffic than his/her counterparts without ADHD. Such risks give them less time to get out of the way of oncoming traffic, leading to a higher risk of being hit.

The authors suggest that pediatricians should screen for ADHD symptoms and monitor at-risk patients to reduce the risk of injury and death.

The authors wrote:

“Future efforts may focus on remediating executive deficits, which may, in turn, prevent pedestrian injuries in this at-risk population,”

“Mediating Factors Associated With Pedestrian Injury in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”
Despina Stavrinos, PhD, Fred J. Biasini, PhD, Philip R. Fine, PhD, MSPH, J. Bart Hodgens, PhD, Snehal Khatri, MD, Sylvie Mrug, PhD, David C. Schwebel, PhD
Pediatrics July 25th, 2011. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-3829.

Written by Christian Nordqvist