Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Walking Distance: Tips for Teaching Kids Safe Pedestrian Practices

As your children grow, it’ll be your job to give them more independence while also setting boundaries and instilling guidelines on what to do in different situations. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes time to start teaching your kids about safer pedestrian practices.

Safe pedestrian practices can literally mean the difference between life and death, so it’s important for your kids to learn the rules of the road by an early age. Here’s a few tips on how to teach these rules and guidelines for the safety of your children and other pedestrians.

Learn the Basics

It’s always important to focus on the fundamentals. Those things we consider common knowledge are still going to have to be covered when it comes to kids. Go over things like looking both ways when crossing the street (left, right, left), crossing only in crosswalks and other designated areas, and sticking to the sidewalk whenever possible.

It’s also important to go over other things that many people, even adults, tend to overlook. For example, being alert in parking lots and checking for cars backing up. Wearing reflective clothing at night is important, too, as well as teaching them not to run across the street just for the sake of crossing faster. Especially important is telling them not to chase after things that go into the road without first checking for oncoming traffic, as this is one of the most common ways fatalities can happen with children pedestrians.

Teach by Example

The best way to instill these skills in your children is to become an example of them. Consciously remember to follow these basic pedestrian rules while you’re walking with your kids, reminding them of their importance along the way. This makes it both a good teaching opportunity and a way to keep yourself and your children safe while outside.

It also gives kids a look into safe practices as they grow older. Putting away your phone or other electronic devices while crossing the street is especially important, given the ubiquity of technology and the amount of accidents that have happened because of unaware pedestrians. It can also be a good time to talk about driving rules, like giving pedestrians the right of way.

Teaching kids about pedestrian safety is simple as long as you remember the basics. Teach by example and remember to emphasize the importance of being safe, and soon enough you’ll have nothing to worry about while your children are out and about.

Tim Esterdahl

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