Written By: Rikin Morzaria
Roads aren’t only dangerous for drivers. Pedestrians are always at risk as well, particularly in the summer months when plenty of time is spent outside. Add excited kids running around outdoors into the mix, and accidents become inevitable. This is especially true when there is no adult supervision and/or lack of knowledge to proper safety practices. It’s incredibly important to teach your child about the potential dangers of the road. Here are some tips to teach your kids about road safety that can ensure that they have a fun and safe summer.
1. Look in all Directions More than Once
It’s a common road safety rule that we hear again and again – look both ways before you cross the street. However, this safety tip goes a little bit further than that. Your child should be looking in all directions, not once, but twice. This is to ensure that any vehicles approaching are seen and that none creep up on them at the last second. You may also want to recommend that they don’t cross any major intersections by themselves.
2. Create Safe Zones
You may want to delegate certain areas, or safe zones, where your child can play. Whether it is making them play close to home or teaching them not to cross any streets or major intersections, setting boundaries for your child can ensure that they avoid high traffic areas and that you can keep an eye on them.
Your child should know that the only safe place to walk is on the sidewalk, and the only safe place to cross the road is at a crosswalk. You may also want to teach them to avoid areas where sidewalks aren’t available, to always walk on the side that is furthest from the road, and to walk against traffic so that they can easily see oncoming traffic.
3. Teach Common Sense
Children often lack common sense, and it’s up to you as the parent to teach them things that come to adults like second nature. For instance, children need to be informed that roads are not playgrounds, and should be avoided as much as possible. They should also be informed that they must remain calm when crossing the street, and should not run or jolt across. Staying focused and cautious is a key to road safety.
As for toys, many of them will end up on the road at least once or twice. Let your child know that they are never to go onto the street to retrieve a ball or toy that has rolled away from them. If they’re old enough, let them know that they can only retrieve their toy once all cars are out of sight, and more importantly, that they should grab the toy and get back to the safe playing zones as quickly as possible.
4. Understanding of Red, Yellow and Green
Traffic regulations and rules are crucial. A very simple yet imperative thing to teach your child to ensure road safety is the colours of the lights and what they mean. They should be able to understand that red means stop, green means go, and anything other than the walking sign means to wait on the sidewalk. The more signs you can teach them, the safer they will be when playing outdoors.
5. Dress In Bright, Reflective Clothes
Any driver knows that it doesn’t take much to miss a child in your field of vision. Blind spots, running kids and dark days can be a recipe for disaster. When your child is playing outdoors, always dress them in bright, reflective clothing to ensure that they can be seen from far away. This is especially true if they’re playing during the evening.
When kids are playing outdoors, they tend to lose focus on their surroundings. Children also have a hard time judging how fast or slow a car is moving, so teaching them some precautionary measures is certainly recommended. The best form of protection you can provide is to supervise your children while they are playing outside, however as that is not always possible, following these tips can help increase their level of safety.