Guest post by Chris Richardson
Safety is always first. Can you imagine what traffic would look like if there were no rules? You don’t even want to think about it, do you? As parents, we’re responsible to make our children fit for the road. They will be walking or riding a bike around the neighborhood before you know it.
According to the statistics, more than 1,600 children under 15 years of age die in road crashes in the U.S. Of those, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in crashes were pedestrians.That sounds terrifying. It’s exactly why we have to make sure our kids will stay safe.
It’s not that difficult to teach a child how to stay safe on the road. We just need the right approach. These 9 tips will help you with that:
1. Tell Them to Use Crosswalks
Start the road rules lessons by explaining the importance of zebra crossings. That’s where pedestrians rule and the drivers stop. Not all drivers respect this rule, so tell your kid to make eye contact with them and pay close attention to what’s happening on the road. They can’t cross the road when a car is too close, even if it’s a crosswalk in question.
2. Explain the Main Signals
When you drive the car, tell them what red, yellow and green mean. When the traffic light signals RED, the car stops. When it signals YELLOW, the car slows down. When it’s GREEN, the car moves.
The walking symbols at intersections are meant for pedestrians. Here, a green means that the pedestrian moves.
However, your child should still look left and right before crossing the road. If the walking symbol turns read or the sign says don’t walk, the pedestrian should stay on the sidewalk.
3. Train Them to Be Assertive
Stop and look before you cross! That should be the main rule when you’re teaching your kids to walk the streets. They have to see if there are any vehicles approaching. They have to pay attention to the signals.
4. Teach Them What They Shouldn’t Do
Your kid will easily remember what they are NOT supposed to do on the road:
(—and Do commands for those of you who speak in the positive because when a command is given in the negative children hear the command first then their brain has to negate it which sometimes doesn’t happen before they start acting on it)
- Don’t cross at bends — Do cross at straightaways where you are visible.
- Don’t play on the sidewalk or on the road — Do play close to the house, away from the street.
- Don’t cross when a vehicle is approaching — Do wait for approaching vehicles to pass or stop.
- Don’t cross between stationary vehicles. — Do cross at crosswalks or intersections.
- Don’t run on the road. — Do walk and remain aware of your surroundings as you cross.
You can make a list of these don’ts, so they will remember them easily.
5. Tell Them to Wear Bright-Colored Outfits
Bright colors are good because they get drivers’ attention. A driver can easily miss seeing someone in dull-colors, especially at night.
6. Use the Sidewalk
Your kid should remain on the sidewalk when going somewhere. It doesn’t matter if the street is too busy. They should never step down from the sidewalk, unless they want to cross the road through the crosswalk.
7. Tell Your Kid to Be Patient
Children tend to run across the street, so they will get to the other side sooner. It may be because they are too afraid to cross the street and want to get this done as quickly as possible.
Teach them to stay alert, since a driver may not be following the rules. They should not run.
8. Don’t Let Them Play on the Sidewalk or on the Road
Play time must have restrictions. Your kids should never play where vehicles are moving, not even on the sidewalk. They should not play on parking areas, either.
9. Teach Them to Stay Safe on the Bicycle
- Check if the bicycle is in good condition before riding it. If it’s not, don’t use it.
- Always wear the helmet.
- Use the bicycle lane at all times. If there’s no bicycle lane, ride your bike on the road, but really close to the sidewalk. Pay attention to the sounds, so you’ll recognize when a fast or larger vehicle is approaching.
- Don’t ride the bicycle at night. That’s the only sure way for a kid to stay safe
Extra Tip for Parents: Be a Fun Teacher
You don’t want to make your kids paranoid about getting in traffic. You shouldn’t lecture them and punish them when they do something wrong.
Do you know how you can teach these rules without stressing the kids out? Games! You can let your kid be the police officer, who can lecture you how to walk or ride a bike.
Stay calm. That’s the lesson for you, the parent.
Do you have any additional tips? Share your comments below.
Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar.
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Halloween is a particularly dangerous holiday for pedestrians, read our Halloween safety tips here.