Children don’t have the same ability to judge distances, speed, and noise direction of traffic and vehicles as teens and adults can. Therefore, it’s really important to ensure that children have a good understanding of basic street safety when they start walking around the local and city streets without you accompanying them.
1. Explain to children why paying attention to certain things when walking is important. This doesn’t just mean the obvious hazards like speeding cars but also less evident ones such as cars coming around corners suddenly or vehicles not stopping at pedestrian crossings.
Explaining the reasons for staying alert while walking helps children to understand more clearly why something is expected of them, especially if they know the consequences of not paying adequate attention or of not practicing basic safety precautions .
2. Teach your children the basic rules about being a pedestrian while you’re still walking with them. You can practice the rules about the road and traffic with them regularly during your walks, so that much of this understanding feels like second nature to the child. In this way, by the time your child starts walking down and across streets without your help, none of the pedestrian road rules should come as a surprise to them.
3. Instill the need in children to always stop before stepping onto the road. Each time they stop, tell them that they must look both ways and listen for vehicles that they cannot see. However, be sure to tell them not to rely on their hearing as the only form of knowing whether or not vehicles are about; explain to them that many vehicles such as hybrids and newer cars can be extremely quiet. Train them to use both their eyes and their hearing together when checking for traffic.
- Ask them questions about what they’d do in certain situations when you’re walking. For example, you come to a crossing. Ask your child what they should do now. You should expect your child to answer something like: “I stop, look both ways to check the cars are actually stopping before I cross and only when I am sure they’ve stopped do I cross”. Keep reminding them of the right approach until they’re able to say it back to you in their own words (this shows they’ve understood it properly).
4.Have your children learn to make eye contact with drivers before they cross the road. This way they can be assured that the driver has noted their presence.
- This isn’t always possible as some vehicles will be too heavily tinted and some vehicles will be too high for the child to see the driver. At least encourage this as one element of safety.
5.Request that your children learn and obey all traffic signals. Help them to learn the meanings of the traffic and road signs when you walk together; the younger they learn, the easier it will be for them later.
- Play games with the signs, such as “I spy” or “Guess the meaning of the sign”, etc.Praise them for getting it right.
6.Teach your children to be careful when walking past driveways, especially hidden and obstructed driveways. Remind them that people backing out cannot see very well and don’t always think to look for children passing by and sometimes don’t even slow down. The same goes for alleys and street corners. Always insist that your child stay alert and not expect drivers to be doing the same.
- Help the child know what to do if a car suddenly comes out, such as jumping back or stopping and not proceeding any further into the car’s path.
- It can sometimes help to use model cars to explain safety situations to a young child.
7.Make sure that your children understand the dangers of crossing between parked cars or other vehicles. Tell them that they must never do this as they cannot see a car that might be passing swiftly past the gap they’re trying to cross from, as well as not being able to clearly see what is happening on the other side of the road.
- It is also important that children learn to wait until the school bus has left before crossing the road the bus is on unless the driver has specifically made it clear that it is safe for the alighting children to cross.
8.Teach children to always cross at pedestrian crossings and intersections, even where this means an extra walk. Explain to them that the exercise is good for them and that it is always better to be safe than sorry all for the sake of minor shortcut. Do not jaywalk (jaywalk means walk when the lights are red)
credits : wikihow