As a parent, keeping your children safe is naturally one of your biggest priorities. However, knowing your children are safe when they leave the house is not easy, especially as there is more traffic on the road today than ever. Every year, 67,124 children are injured in pedestrian accidents. It is every parent’s duty to teach their children how to stay safe when they walk out the door.
Your Child’s Focus and Attention is Required to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
Children can be more prone to car-related injuries and fatalities for numerous reasons. Young children have shortened attention spans, which can lead them to make impulsive decisions, such as running after a ball that has bounced into the street. Many current adults may have run into the street to get their personal possession that they dropped into the street when they were young. The lucky ones who avoided injury or death live on to tell the tale. But not every child that runs into the street is that lucky.
Days become shorter in winter, which means that your children are more likely to walk in the dark. Because pedestrian accidents tend to occur more frequently in the dark, ensuring that your children prioritize pedestrian safety is important. If your kids aren’t wearing bright or reflective clothing while they walk at night, they may be very hard to see for drivers on the road.
Children who are very young also may not have developed enough physically to identify potential safety hazards. Young ones who cannot identify car sounds easily or perceive distance and speed accurately are more likely to be involved in a car-related accident as a pedestrian. Another piece of information to keep in mind is that the peripheral vision of children is reduced compared to the peripheral vision of adults.
What You Can Do
There is plenty that you can do to prevent your child from becoming another statistic:
- Be a Role Model: Kids learn by example, and you should be the role model they look up to for guidance. Show them exactly what pedestrian safety means. Look both ways before you cross the street, follow traffic lights and signs to the letter of the law, and take extra precautions in bad weather. Teach your child about pedestrian safety as you cross the street to reinforce your actions.
- Walk on the Sidewalk: The sidewalk is your child’s best friend in terms of traffic safety. Every child should use the sidewalk and ensure that your children will never walk into the street. As your children get older, you can teach them to walk on the left side of the street if there is no sidewalk available.
- Explain Who Crossing Guards Are: Crossing guards are some of the most important workers with regard to pedestrian safety. Wait with your kids for the crossing guard at least one time to show how important following the guard’s instruction is. The only downside of crossing guards is that they aren’t around in some of the most dangerous situations for pedestrians who are children.
- Make it Interactive: Your kids should experience a variety of pedestrian safety scenarios with you. Teach your children pedestrian safety techniques by using games to capture the attention of your young ones who have short attention spans.
- Ask Questions: You need to work with you kids on traffic and pedestrian safety so they know how to respond to dangerous traffic situations. Ask your children what they would do in a variety of situations. Situations may include when a toy rolls into the street or when a car is headed towards the crosswalk your child would like to use without a stop sign in the intersection.
Work with your kids on pedestrian safety until you feel comfortable with the knowledge that they have articulated to you. Once your children have proved that they are a pedestrian safety expert, the hardest part will be letting them put their pedestrian safety to the test on their own. If you have put an extensive amount of time to teach your children to prioritize safety while they walk outside, they will make it home every single time.