Teaching Kids to Walk Safely
Advice from Our Caring Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
According to studies, the fifth leading cause of death and injury to children ages 5-19 is pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accident lawyers unfortunately encounter these cases too often.
Children begin walking while their parents hold their hands. As they grow older, they no longer need this support compared to when they were younger. But without appropriate guidance from adults to teach children to walk safely, they are at risk of the dangers of cars. It is, therefore, imperative that you teach them how to avoid various hazards on the road. Here are some tips.
Time It Right
A good time to start teaching children how to cross the street is when they begin walking. You need to start early, so they remember it quickly. Although children will not fully comprehend what you are trying to say, they will absorb and remember the information you give them anyway.
To do this, take them out on frequent walks but do not carry them; you have to hold their hands. If the child can talk and understand, it is important to show him where cars come from, and that he has to look from left to right. It is also the time to teach him how to interpret traffic lights and how to use pedestrian lanes.
Let Them Do It
Once the child understands the basic safety guidelines of crossing, take him to an empty street, with a pedestrian lane, and ask him to decide whether it is time to cross or not. Make sure there are no cars. Better yet, do this exercise with another adult on the other side of the road. Guide the child in crossing and point out errors, and why the error is dangerous, and repeat the exercise until he gets it right.
The reason behind this is that children do not fully develop cognitive skills until they hit the age of 10. Most children will recognize a car’s color but fail to assess its speed. With a parent to guide him, a child will slowly understand how to make wise and safe decisions.
Keep Mobile Devices Away
It is a critical piece of safety precaution that even adults fail to follow. Mobile devices like cell phones and tablets are distractions. Drivers, too, use these devices, and pedestrian accident lawyers know that it is one of the leading causes of car accidents.
Teach the child not to use his cell phone or tablet when he is walking on the street. It is also a must that you become a role model. Children will never take your advice seriously if you are a hypocrite. Always be strict about it: all gadgets must be in the bag when walking on the street. No excuses.
Get a School Buddy
Children perform best if influenced by another person – a trusted friend. While you are at it, it makes perfect sense to involve another child during these lessons. Perhaps you can ask another friend who is also a parent to participate with their child.
You can also organize a community activity that helps promote the buddy system. While children are walking to the bus stop, or simply crossing the street from the school, encourage them to stick with their friends. It is important because the children will look out for each other. Also, drivers will be a lot more careful if they see a larger group of children compared to only one child.
When teaching a child to go home alone, it is best to use his sharp memory to improve retention. Children have high memory capabilities, and if you associate safety guidelines with landmarks and other structures, they are more likely to remember them. For instance, tell them to cross the street only at areas with designated crosswalks and signal lights. Point them out to your child so they know what to look for.
As a parent, you cannot always be around your children. They will play, they will stray away from safe zones and put themselves at risk. It requires a tremendous amount of patience and time to teach children the rules of traffic safety. Children have a short attention span and are likely to forget things, not because they have a memory problem but because they have no concern for their safety.
Our lawyers have decades of experience in providing excellent results in these areas of practice.