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Teaching Kids to Safely Cross the Street
Summer is here! Which means that kids are out of school and will be outside playing. As adults, it is our job to make sure that the kids in our life are safe. Not only by keeping a watchful eye on them, but also teaching them ways to make sure they are practicing safety. Because children do not have the ability to judge distance and speed when crossing the street, we need to show them the steps to take to make sure they are safe. Below are some tips on how to teach kids how to safely cross the street. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another, contact an accident lawyer in our office. Consultations with an injury attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys are free!
Injury Attorney | Child Safety – Crossing the Street
It always pays off to know that your children are safe and know how to safely cross the street. While you are out and about this summer, show them the steps to ensure their safety. Such as stopping at crosswalks and obeying traffic signals.
Accompany Children Under 10
As children grow, they want to assert their independence. However, it is up to us to make sure they are being safe while doing so. Independence is great and all, however, being safe is the most important. Walking along busy streets means that there are cars nearby that are going at accelerated speeds, street signs and lights, and all sorts of distractions. Accompany them while they are still learning. Every child learns and grows differently. So cater these to your children. If you are comfortable, after your child’s 10th birthday, you can decide if they are ready to cross the street on their own.
- Teach younger children to hold your hand and look both ways before crossing the street;
- Do not allow them to run out ahead of you or be behind you
Distraction Free Zone
Put away any distractions. Phones, iPods, etc. Video games and toys pose a significant distraction for younger children. I have a tendency to walk with my headphones in, however, I also know that it can take away an important sense (hearing) that is important to staying safe while walking. the rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t wear it (or do it) while driving, don’t do it while walking.
Walk near low-speed roads without much traffic. The best locations for learning street safety are on roads that are not as busy. You can usually find these alone the side roads of apartment communities; away from town centers. You will be the most familiar with your area so you can direct your child to safer routes. Make sure they memorize the routes so they do not get lost. Take the time to plan out your walks. Residential streets and crossings with a lot of pedestrians can be wonderful learning spots for children.
Wear Bright Clothing
We know that you likely would not want your child walking late in the evening. However, even in the day time, it is a good idea to teach your child to wear bright clothing when they are playing or are outside. This makes it easier for drivers to see you and your child. Make it a family tradition for everyone to wear bright colors when going out for a walk.
- Following proper street safety rules, such as traffic signals and utilizing crosswalks is essential to keeping them safe;
- Have your children wear clothing and/or backpacks that have light-reflective strips. These will help them appear more visible when it starts getting dark out;
- You can find these at any sports store and you can easily apply them to your child’s clothing or backpacks
Teach them about Street Signs
When you are out on a walk, make sure to teach them about the street signs on a regular basis. Perhaps make it a game of sorts, especially with young children who need to be reminded regularly. As you walk with them, start explaining what each street sign means and make sure you make associations with the color and design of the sign.
Be sure to count out every sign you see so that they learn the difference between each sign. For example, stop signs, crosswalk signs, street signs, neighborhood watch signs, etc.
Show them a traffic signal when they are ready. Also, explain the symbols on the crosswalk lights. A blinking signs for “don’t start walking” is different than a solid “don’t walk.”
- The easiest way to do this is to walk with them through a crosswalk that has both traffic lights and crosswalk lights. Choose a time of day when it is safe and there isn’t as much traffic;
- If you want, use flashcards to help teach younger children the meaning of each signal;
- As you are driving or walking, point out new signals that you come across;
- this helps your child become more familiar with road signals
Always Cross at a Crosswalk
Crosswalks, especially on busy intersections, are there for a reason. However, people have a tendency to put themselves at risk by not utilizing these safety measures. Making sure to use the crosswalk with your child makes you more visible to motorists and it also models good behavior.
If you see someone crossing the street improperly, let your child know that it is dangerous to do so. Hold your younger child’s hand while crossing the street and instruct the older children to cross when you do. At some point, they will be able to discern on their own when it is safe to attempt to cross.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact with a driver while crossing the street lets the driver know that you are also aware that they are there. It also means that they see you. Drivers you look in the eye are more likely to stop, however, your child will soon recognize that some drivers are not paying attention. So you have to make them pay attention by looking them in the eye.
These are just a few tips on how to teach your child to safely cross the street. Like everything, it is up to you to teach them how you see fit. Remember to stay safe this summer, but also have fun.
If you or a loved one are suffering from injuries due to an accident, contact us to discuss your case. Consultations are free!