Children learn through experience. Walking with parents or another caregiver is an important way to practice crossing streets and to pick safe places to walk. There is no magic age when children are old enough to walk without an adult. Parents should decide when their children have the skills and experience to deal with traffic safely without an adult.
As parents walk with their children, remember these safety tips:
Wear bright-colored clothes or reflective gear if it is dark or hard to see.
Look for traffic at every driveway and intersection. Be aware of drivers in parked cars that may be getting ready to move.
Obey all traffic signs and signals.
Crossing the street safely
Stop at the curb or edge of the street.
Look left, right, left, behind you and in front of you for traffic.
Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.
Walk, don't run across the street.
Walk with a friend.
Pick places where there are sidewalks or paths separate from traffic. If there are no sidewalks or paths, walk as far from the motor vehicles as possible and, if possible, on the side of the street facing traffic.
Limit the number of street crossings.
Over time, children will develop the ability to accurately judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic. Young children may think that a car is able to stop, when in fact, it cannot. Also, children may think that if they can see a driver, the driver can see them. But children are smaller and harder for drivers to see. Get down to your child's perspective and see what they see.
Information provided by National Center for Safe Routes to School
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.