Avis, K.T., Gamble, K.L., Schwebel, D.C. (2013). Does Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Affect Children’s Pedestrian Safety? Sleep, in press.
Many cognitive factors contribute to unintentional pedestrian injury, including reaction time, impulsivity, risk-taking, attention, and decision-making. These same factors are negatively influenced by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), which may place children with EDS at greater risk for pedestrian injury.
Cognitive processes involved in safe pedestrian crossings may be impaired in children with EDS. In the pedestrian simulation, children with EDS appeared to show a pattern of inattentional blindness, in that they “looked but did not process” information in their pedestrian environment.
Results highlight the need for heightened awareness of potentially irreversible consequences of untreated sleep disorders and identify a possible target for pediatric injury prevention.