A major life skill you need to teach your kids is how to navigate the streets safely as a pedestrian. Accidents can happen quickly, but a child armed with the right information has a better chance of staying safe.
Set the Example
Words don’t go as far as actions. If you truly want your child to learn how to be safe while walking near a street, you have to set the example. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, you should put away your phone to show your child that distractions aren’t a good idea when you’re a pedestrian. Practice safety at every crosswalk and follow the rules you want your kids to follow. Exercise caution and teach your kids not to take unnecessary chances. Waiting an extra minute is better than taking a risk and getting hit by a car. They need to see you model patience and safe behavior so they will learn to do the same.
Teach Them the Rules
There are the official and the unofficial rules of being a pedestrian, and you need to teach your kids all of them. Make sure they know what is expected of them by law when they are a pedestrian. Make sure they also know that even a pedestrian signal telling them they can cross the street doesn’t always mean they can go safely. They need to know how to look for turning cars that could hit them even if they have the right to cross. Crosswalk safety is essential, but it’s not the only thing you need to teach your kids. According to WB&T, many accidents involving pedestrians happen outside of a crosswalk. Kids need to know which side of the sidewalk to walk on so they can see traffic and move with the flow of other pedestrians. They also need to understand the danger of darting off a sidewalk and in between cars. Drivers can’t see them until they are on the road and this can lead to major accidents.
Teach your child to wear a bright colored jacket or another article of clothing that will draw a driver’s attention to him. Make sure they only walk during daylight hours when they can be easily seen. According to Imperial Motion, you should teach your children that if walking at night is truly necessary, they need to wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight. Staying visible to busy and possibly distracted drivers is important for any pedestrian. Even if your child is on the sidewalk and not crossing the street, he needs to be easy to see to anyone driving on the road.
Walking offers kids independence and physical exercise, so make sure they know how to navigate streets safely. By following these tips, you can help them to be safer when they go out on their own.
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