Cars are becoming an ever increasing danger for our children. As communities get more congested, people get in bigger hurries and drive faster, and which leads to more accidents. Around 700 children die each year from car-pedestrian injuries. Another 40,000 to 50,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for pedestrian injuries and suffer debilitating effects as a result. Children four and under account for more than 40 percent of pedestrian injury-related deaths. Some other alarming facts to think about: Nearly two-thirds of drivers still speed in school zones, and nearly half of all drivers violate stop signs in places where children walk.
Child pedestrian safety: Teaching kids how to cross the street
Teach children to stop, look and listen before they cross the street. They should stop, look all ways for traffic that is coming, (not just two ways), and then cross the street. They should continue looking around them even while they cross the street.
Street Safety Rules for Kids
- Teach children to never chase anything out into the street. If a ball, pet, or anything else goes out in the street. Stop and watch where it goes, then call an adult to go get it or cross the street very carefully yourself. Prevent this from happening by not playing any games near the street in the first place.
- Make sure children understand that just because they see a car this does not mean the driver can see them.
- Talk to them about how long it takes cars to stop. Explain that by the time somebody sees them, has time to react, and then puts on the brakes and the brakes work, the car has continued to travel a good distance. Be sure they give themselves plenty of extra time anytime they cross the street.
- Don’t let children under the age of 10 cross a street alone. Young children often have not developed enough judgment to calculate the speed of oncoming cars and determine the adequate time needed to cross.
- Never let toddlers play outside in the front yard. Nearly 10 percent of all child pedestrian related injuries occur in driveways, and children ages 4 and under account for 80 percent of these.
Child safety in parking lots
- From a young age, teach children to watch for signs that a car might be ready to back out. As they walk through the parking lot, have them look for people sitting in the driver’s seat, cars that are running, or cars with their brake lights on – all signs that a driver may be ready to leave. Make a game of it every time you go to the market.
- To keep your tot from wiggling free of your hand and running up ahead in the parking lot, play games to make hand-holding fun. You can play a game to swing your arms high back and forth, or sing songs along the way. Or play the boomerang game: Move your child’s arm so they have to run ahead a few steps, then stop and pull them backwards while you walk ahead, then repeat the process. Find whatever silliness works for you. Usually even the most cheesy games will help young kids consider hand holding more fun than chore.
Street Safety Resources For Kids
This book teaches kids base street smarts to make them more aware of their surroundings and help them avoid dangerous situations.
Street safety coloring sheets