It is always a tragedy to lose someone in a traffic accident, but it is particularly devastating when the victim is a child.
We can’t eliminate the danger that vehicles pose for our children, but there are many things we can do to help kids stay safe.
By teaching children street safety and practicing safe habits ourselves, we can improve street safety for kids.
Why Teaching Street Safety to Kids Is Important
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic accidents are a leading cause of death for children. Over a quarter of children killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2017 were pedestrians, cyclists, or other non-occupants of a vehicle.
Children under 10 years old lack the physical, emotional, and mental development needed to keep themselves safe on the street.
- Have limited peripheral vision
- Are shorter and more difficult to see
- Are easily distracted
- Struggle to perceive speed and distance
- Lack a full understanding of danger and consequences
However, a child can learn pedestrian safety just as they can learn any other skill. In fact, there is a lot you can do to teach your children about pedestrian safety at a young age.
Building Life Skills
Being able to explore the community independently is a life skill that you can begin teaching children while they are young.
Although many parents are reluctant to let kids venture out on their own, letting kids walk or bike to school or around their neighborhood can have benefits like:
- Improving physical fitness
- Providing an opportunity to socialize
- Contributing to better attention, improved academic abilities, and lower stress
- Teaching independence
You can help with child pedestrian safety by walking with your kids while they are young and teaching them the rules of the road. Then, when they are old enough to go out alone, you can be more confident that they will be safe.
Pedestrian Safety for Kids
There are a number of important things you should teach your children about pedestrian safety:
- Always look left, then right, then left again before crossing the street.
- Continue looking left-right-left while you are crossing.
- Always walk, never run, across the street, and don’t dart out suddenly.
- Put away phones and headphones while walking near vehicles or crossing the street.
- Look before crossing a driveway or alley.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible.
- If there is no sidewalk, stay as far to the left of the street as possible, facing oncoming traffic.
- Make eye contact with the drivers of any nearby vehicles.
- Only cross the street at marked crossings.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
You teach your kids by example when you follow all of these rules yourself.
Safety Tips for Drivers
If you are a driver, there are lots of things you can do to improve street safety for kids.
- Always watch for children when backing out of a parking space or driveway.
- Give the right of way to pedestrians.
- Eliminate distractions while driving, such as eating, talking on your phone, or texting.
- Follow all traffic rules.
- Stick to the speed limit and slow down in residential areas, especially near schools.
- Check repeatedly for pedestrians before pulling into traffic from a parking lot or when turning a corner.
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians and bikers near you that may dart into the street.By driving responsibly, we can all play an important role in protecting children on our streets.
Learn More About VanDerGinst Law
Despite the best efforts, tragedies can still occur. If you or your child was injured in a pedestrian accident, you may need to seek legal help to ensure that your rights are protected.
At VanDerGinst Law, we are dedicated to making our communities safer for children. For example, we’ve given thousands of bike helmets to children in our community through our Hard Headed Kids program.
If you need advice about a personal injury claim, call or contact us today to learn how we can serve you.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.