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Kids Playing


To avoid a collision with a running child, drivers are expected to be extra cautious around schools, playgrounds, parks, and places that children frequent, and slow down near or at the crosswalks in residential areas. 

Factors considered in the determination of drivers’ responsibility for knocking down a child. 

A driver’s anticipation of children’s crossing the road by noticing: 

  •  Posted cautionary signs – “child crossings.” 

  • Stopped ice cream trucks. 

  • Speed limit reduction due to schools’ children's possible crossing/presence. 

  • Stopped the school bus’s flashing lights. 

  • Recreational parks sidewalks and playgrounds. 

  • Residential streets with apartment buildings. 

  • Children are riding bikes or playing games on the street. 

Vehicle drivers’ consideration of child’s unpredictable behavior, such as: 

  • Ignoring the "walk" signal at an intersection. 

  • Entering traffic and disrupting the traffic flow. 

  • Failing to use marked crosswalks. 

  •  Darting in front of a vehicle. 

  • Looking into their iPads, texting, or talking on cell phones while walking. 

  •  Running onto roadways after a ball, playing tag, or crossing the road to an ice cream truck. 

If a vehicle knocks down a dart-out child, the vehicle driver may not be at fault for causing that collision if: 

  •  A child runs out into the street so suddenly that the driver cannot stop or 

  • Maneuver the vehicle to avoid collision with an injury to the child. 

  • The driver was traveling at a reasonable and safe speed, obeying all rules of the road. 

Parents’ responsibility and vigilance tips for keeping children safe on the streets: 

  • Watch your children constantly, especially when they are playing near the roads. 

  • Hold your child’s hand while walking along or crossing the street. 

  • Talk to / teach your child about stopping and looking both ways before crossing. 

  • Do not let the kids play without an adult’s supervision, particularly at dusk. 

  • Do not let them ride a bike not equipped with light reflectors. 

Parents have a statutory duty to properly instruct their children as to the laws pertaining to the operation of a bicycle. Moon v. Thompson, 469 N.E.2d 365, 366 (Ill.App.1 Dist. (1984). 625 ILCS 5/11-1501 (b): The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of the Vehicle Code. 

Otherwise, the parents of the injured child may be accused of negligent supervision of their child, and, therefore, the child’s damages may be reduced to a proportional share of the parent’s fault in causing the collision. 

A child’s contributory negligence in causing the crash depends on a child’s age: 

  •  7-year-old or younger: incapable of being negligent 

  • 7-14 years old: presumed to be incapable of negligence but may be contributorily negligent if 

  •  The child is deemed capable of understanding the risks of his actions, if 

  •  The child’s conduct did not conform to that of a reasonably prudent child of the same age, intelligence, maturity, and experience. 

  • 14-year-old and older: may be contributorily negligent as an adult 

In case of a child /pedestrian accident, drivers are expected to: 

  • Call the police and ambulance immediately. 

  • Not leave the scene of an accident prior to information exchange and police arrival. 

  • Cover the injured victim with a blanket. 

  •  Set our flares and warning signs. 

  • Raise the hood of the vehicle. 

  •  Take pictures of the scene of the occurrence, vehicles, and drivers. 

  • Gather the names and phone numbers of all witnesses. 

  • Not make any self-incriminating statements to drivers and insurers 

  • Exchange the driver’s insurance, telephone number, and license information. 


Motor vehicle drivers shall exercise their ordinary care to avoid collisions by complying with Vehicle Code rules of the road and especially be extra careful in operating their vehicle in the areas where children live, play, congregate or are just present at the crossings and intersections.

© 2023, Parad Law Offices, P.C

Disclaimer: The publisher and the author give no legal or other professional advice by this publication and disclaim any liability, loss or damages, which may arise from the use of the information stated herein. No attorney-client relationship shall be established by this publication.

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