Making sure your kids are ''Street Smart''

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All this week on Eyewitness News Sunrise, we are focusing on summer safety for your kids.  Summertime is often referred to in the medical field as "trauma season", because so many more accidents happen in the summer.

There is something many parents probably didn't know about:  why your young children may not see cars approaching when they cross the street.

It's very important that you teach your kids to look both ways before crossing the street.  More than 13,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 are struck and injured by cars every year in the United States.  What we are now learning from doctors is that young children don't have the perceptual skills to safely judge approaching traffic.

We talked with Doctor Robert Collins at Riley Hospital for Children.  When it comes to your kids, he says, "They just don't have the same judgment as you and I do.  There's pattern recognition and growing up over time recognizing speed of cars, recognizing sounds, associated with speeding car and they honestly just forget."

Not only are children forgetting to look both ways, but drivers who are using their mobile phones and texting, are more distracted now than they were just a few years ago.

Also, during the summer months, kids are out later, playing at dusk, which makes them harder to see.  Doctor Collins says parents should constantly remind children about the dangers, so that, over time, it sticks.

Also, never leave your child in an unattended car.  Kids heat up much faster than adults, and Doctor Collins says five minutes is even too long to leave a baby in a hot or warm car.

Wednesday morning on Eyewitness News Sunrise: A critical reminder to parents to make sure their children are wearing sunscreen while out in the hot summer sun.