When a car hits a child the result can be deadly. Pedestrian injuries have become the second leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 5-14, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, most children are hit by vehicles near their home during the afternoon. This is a very scary reality; however, children can learn the steps of safe street crossing and how to play outdoors even when they are around traffic.
Steps to protect your children
One of the first things to teach children about traffic safety is to always be aware of their surroundings. Children pay attention to only one thing at time, which is why when playing, they may forget about traffic.
Research shows that children do not understand the danger of a moving car. They cannot judge the speed of a vehicle coming toward them and often, they don’t recognize danger or react to it. In addition, when they see a car, they think that the driver sees them and can
stop for them.
Families should teach children not to “dart out” into traffic, chase anything into a roadway or stand between parked cards. Because children are small, it is hard for drivers to see them, even when there are not blind spots on the road.
Know the rules
Teach your children to cross streets safely by showing them first hand the following steps:
- Stop at the edge of the street.
- When near a corner, go to the corner to cross. Use cross walks when available.
- Never cross between parked cars. Always move to where the driver will be able to see you.
- Look left – right – left to make sure no traffic is coming. If you are crossing at a corner, also look over your shoulder for turning traffic.
- If a driver is slowing down, teach your children to look into the driver’s eyes. Make sure the driver sees you and stops before you cross.
- Walk – don’t run – across the street, even when no traffic is coming. Continue to look look left and right as you go.
- Have younger children walk with an adult or older child.
- Be seen at night. Trim clothing with materials that reflect light such as reflective tape or wear bright/light colors, such as white or yellow.
If your child will be walking a regular path, such as to school, choose the most direct, safest route and walk it with your child. Look for the route with the fewest street crossings. Walk with your children until they demonstrate traffic safety awareness.