As a parent, you’ve got a big job keeping your child safe, especially in the 21st century. You want your child to practice independence, but it can be dangerous. Especially when it comes to letting your child out into the world to cross the street. Getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death for kids between the ages of 5 and 9, with kids up to the age of 15 at a greater risk of getting hit than other age groups.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your kid walk to the park or wait for the bus on the corner! It just means you have to teach your child the right way to behave every time they’re near a street.
How to Behave When Waiting for the Bus
The school bus can make life much more convenient for your family, especially if you have children at multiple schools or you have to get to work. You just have to make sure you teach your child the right way to wait for the bus so you don’t have to worry about disaster striking while you’re inside the house.
- Telling them to look both ways before crossing the street to get to the bus stop.
- Showing them where to stand so they stay at a safe distance from the curb.
- Telling them not to walk towards the bus until it has come to a complete stop.
- Telling them never to walk behind a bus.
- Reminding them to stay away from the wheels of any vehicle.
Make Eye Contact With Drivers
Whether waiting for the bus or crossing the street to the park, there are a lot of tricks to teach the little one to stay safe. That includes looking both ways and crossing on corners and designated crosswalks, but one tip you may not have heard is to make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
In a study, drivers stopped 68 percent of the time when walkers make eye contact before crossing the street. Only 55 percent stopped when eye contact wasn’t made by the walker.
Teach your children to stop at the corner, and before proceeding across the street, look into the vehicle and make eye contact to increase their chances of crossing safely.
Practice Routes They Walk
Many of the dangers on the road include other drivers, but it’s not just cars you have to worry about. Children can easily get lost or arrive at their destination late, causing everyone to worry about their arrival while waiting. Not to mention, the possibility of being kidnapped by taking an unknown route.
One way to make sure you know exactly where your child is at all times is to practice the routes they walk. That way, you can choose the safest route to school or another destination, and you know exactly what steps to retrace should something go wrong. It’s also a great way to instill confidence in your child that they can walk alone safely.
Put Devices Down
You’ve probably heard about the dangers of texting and driving, but did you know that distracted walking can cause a lot of damage too?
If your child is distracted by their phone while walking across the street, they can get hit, but they can also walk into stationary objects and even trip and fall if they are distracted.
Communicate the importance of keeping their phone in their pocket or in a backpack. Have them put it on silent before they leave the house, and consider using apps to encourage your child to use their phone only when it’s appropriate.
Set a Good Example
One of the best things we can do for our children is to work on becoming the best role model we can be. When it comes to road safety, that means showing your children the proper way to behave when walking near traffic.
Spend more time walking places with your child so they get to practice walking with you. Walk to the gas station, practicing how to look both ways before crossing the street and make eye contact with drivers. If they practice how to behave with you, they’ll be more likely to behave that way when they’re alone.
You don’t have to be afraid every time you let your child leave the house to go to school. Follow these tips and you can teach your child independence while giving yourself some peace of mind.
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