Children with ADHD at greater risk when crossing the street: study

July 27, 2011

Birmingham, AL – Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are at an increased risk of being struck by a motor vehicle while crossing the road, indicates a study released July 25 by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

According to a study abstract, researchers assessed the behaviors of 78 children between the ages of 7 and 10 at a simulated street crossing. Although the study participants with ADHD looked both ways when approaching the intersection, which non-ADHD participants also did, the children with ADHD attempted to cross through shorter gaps between traffic and allowed themselves less time to safely make it through the crosswalk, according to a UAB press release.

Researchers believe this risky action may be caused by poor executive functioning among children with ADHD. Executive function can control timing, inhibition, planning and execution.

Researchers suggested parents consider delaying the age at which children with ADHD are allowed to cross the street by themselves, and offer extra practice to help children correctly identify safe gaps in traffic.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.