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Study: Sleepy Kids More Likely To Get Hit By Cars

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Children with untreated excessive daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to be struck or nearly hit by a car, even when looking both ways before crossing. (credit: Garry Hunter/Getty Images)

Children with untreated excessive daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to be struck or nearly hit by a car, even when looking both ways before crossing. (credit: Garry Hunter/Getty Images)

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (CBS Atlanta) – According to a recent study, tired children are more likely to get hit by a car when crossing the street.

The study, which was conducted at Children’s of Alabama hospital, found that children with untreated excessive daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to be struck or nearly hit by a car, even when looking both ways before crossing.

Researchers used a virtual reality lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to simulate crossing a street with traffic.

“In our study, sleepy children were much more likely to become a victim of a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle,” Dr. Kristin Avis, a children’s sleep expert, said in a news release obtained by the Alabama Media Group.

Excessive daytime sleepiness covers disorders such as narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.

Researchers compared data of 33 children between the ages of 8 and 16 with EDS to 33 children who did not have EDS of the same age.

“This finding extends previous reports documenting the harmful effect of sleep deprivation on transportation safety of adults and adolescents,” the authors said in the study. “In particular, this study provides initial evidence to suggest that untreated EDS may be associated with increased injury risk to children in pedestrian settings.”

According to the hospital, treatment of pedestrian accidents involving kids have jumped in the last five years. In 2013, 41 trauma patients hurt in a pedestrian accident were treated at Children’s of Alabama. So far in 2014, Children’s has treated six patients involving pedestrians and automobiles.

Avis along with Karen Gamble, an assistant professor of psychiatry at UAB and David Schwebel, a professor of psychology at UAB received a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Development and from the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute at the Children’s of Alabama Foundation.

The study was published in the February issue of SLEEP.

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