School is almost back in session and many children will be walking to school, home, a friend’s house, a caregivers house, or event just across the parking lot to get into a car. Here are some safety tips from Safe Kids to remember when you are walking.
Teach Kids the Basics from the Beginning
- Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Teach kids at an early age to put down their devices and then look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
- Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach them to never run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Let Your Actions Speak as Loud as Your Words
- Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.
- Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.
Drive with Extra Care and Anticipation
- When driving, be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones and be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
- Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to help spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.
- When driving, put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of site until your final destination.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
Take Action Against Distraction
- Teach kids to look up and pay extra attention when using headphones, cell phones or electronic devices such as a tablet or game. Make it a rule to put these devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce the message with your teenagers.
- Be aware of others who may be distracted—and speak up when you see someone who is in danger.
- If your kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area to talk. For headphones, pull them down or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
For more information about pedestrian safety, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at firstname.lastname@example.org. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.