Child Pedestrian Safety800px-2008_04_21_-_Bethesda_-_NIH_-_Center_Dr_crosswalk

As children begin to go to school, learning how to cross the street is essential. Parents and caregivers must educate children on how to cross and walk near roadways. Every time you walk with your child, be sure to recite the rules of walking across the street. Have them stop and look both ways before entering the road. Remember you are their role model, so practice saying the same thing every time you come to an intersection; this will help them remember what to look for when crossing the street. As pedestrians, children are the most vulnerable. Their size is difficult for motorists to immediately see and their behavior is difficult to predict. Children can be quite impulsive and might suddenly run across the street at the most inopportune time. In addition, they are also too young to make proper judgement on speed and distance and the use of proper crossing spots. Therefore, it is very important to educate your children about these concerns. With NHTSA’s Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum, you are not alone with educating your children on pedestrian safety. However, it is important that you also do your part and do not rely on the school to educate your child on how to become a responsible pedestrian. The Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum teaches and encourages pedestrian safety for students grades Kindergarten through 5th Grade. It is organized into five lessons: walking near traffic, crossing streets, crossing intersections, parking lot safety, and school bus safety. Each lesson builds upon the previous set of skills learned. As parents, be familiar with the materials so that you can reinforce and practice with your children until you are confident that they understand each area of safety. Here are some reminders and tips on pedestrian safety from Safe Kids Utah:

  • An adult should always accompany children under the age of 10 when crossing the street.
  • Check for traffic by looking left to right before crossing the street and do this at the edge of the road or sidewalk.
  • Do not stand in the street while waiting to cross.
  • Press the crosswalk button and cross when the “WALK” signal appears.  Again, look to the left and right before stepping off the curb.
  • Continue to look for traffic while crossing.  Having a “WALK” signal and the right-of-way does not mean that drivers will stop for you.  DUI and distracted drivers may not be aware of crossing pedestrians.
  • Use sidewalks when available, if there are no sidewalks, it is usually safer to walk along the road facing oncoming traffic.
  • If walking during night time or dawn, wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight.
  • Look out for motorists entering or exiting parking lots or driveways.  Motorists are required to yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk, but many motorists don’t see you until it is too late.

If followed correctly, these safety tips and reminders can help reduce pedestrian accidents . Keeping children safe is a big responsibility, but can be done successfully with parents teaching their children starting at a young age.

Image “Bethesda-NIH-Center Dr crosswalk” copyright by Andrew Bossi.

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