Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States and another 70,000 pedestrians injured in 2010? That averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 2 hours and a pedestrian injury every 8 minutes.
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.
Most children are hit by vehicles near their home during the afternoon in driveways, parking lots or even at the school bus stop. Help your children stay safe by learning the steps of safe street crossing and how to play outdoors even with they are around traffic.
Steps you can take to protect your children:
Teach your children to be aware of their surroundings
The first thing 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. Teach your 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.
Find safe play areas away from streets driveways, or parking areas.
Pick a play area that is easy to get to from your home. Choose the safest, most direct route and walk it with your children until they demonstrate traffic safety awareness. Remind them they should always take that route and avoid shortcuts to keep them safe.
Teach your children to cross streets safely.
- Stop at edge of the street before crossing.
- Cross at the corner of the street if you are close to a corner. Always use cross walks when available.
- Never cross between park cars as it will make it hard for drivers to see you.
- Look left – right - left to make sure no traffic is coming. If you are at a corner be sure to look over shoulder for cars that might be turning.
- If driver is slowing down to let you cross be sure to make eye contact to make sure they see you before you cross.
- Walk, don’t run, across the street when no traffic is coming but be sure to look left and right as you cross.
- Have younger children walk with adult or older child.
- Make sure you can be seen at night. Trim clothing with materials that reflect light such as reflective tape.