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Kids With ADHD Less Adept at Crossing the Street: Study
Date:7/25/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have one more worry to add to their list: Kids younger than 10 years old with ADHD may be unable to cross the street safely on their own.

New research found that while children with ADHD may look as if they are capable of crossing the street solo -- they do stop and look both ways before crossing -- they aren't always good at judging how much time they need to safely cross.

"In our study, the outcome of crossing the street was much worse for kids with ADHD than for their peers without ADHD," said the study's lead author, Despina Stavrinos, an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Kids with ADHD left much less time to spare to cross, and there were several close calls," she said.

Results of the study, published online July 25, will appear in the August print issue of Pediatrics.

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of pediatric deaths, according to background information in the study. And, pedestrian injuries are a major cause of unintentional injury. About one in six pedestrian fatalities occurs in children between the ages of 7 and 10, according to the study.

In general, children with ADHD are more prone to injuries, Stavrinos said. And, the researchers wondered how ADHD might affect someone's ability to cross the street, because the task requires processing a lot of information quickly.

To answer that question, the researchers recruited 78 children between the ages of 7 and 10. Half of them had ADHD. The others were age- and gender-matched to the children who had ADHD to serve as a control group. All of the children with ADHD were asked to forgo their medications for 24 hours prior to the test.

The researchers had the children complete 10 simulated street crossings using a vir
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