As school starts, it is natural for some kids to want to walk to school. Even kids who take metro in DC still have to walk to the station. Every day, more than 40 kids are hit by cars while they are walking. Consequently, it is always a good idea to talk with kids about pedestrian safety. Whether this is your child’s first “walk alone” experience, or whether they just need a refresher course, here are a few area of pedestrian safety that merit discussion.
Crossing Streets Safely
Of course, children should be taught to look both ways before crossing the street. However, children should be reminded that “look both ways” really means, “look three ways.” One should look left, right, then left again before taking a single foot off the curb and starting across the street. Of course, one should not presume they are safe, just because it was safe to enter the intersection. It is important to remain vigilant while crossing the street as well.
Crossing streets should be done at the corner, not in the middle of the block. In particular, children should never enter the street from between two parked cars. Children should use the crosswalk whenever possible. Traffic signals should be obeyed. While it is light out now, soon the daylight hours will shorten. Consider adding some reflective tape to your child’s backpack and outer clothing, so they are easier to see in the dusk and darkness.
Parents are particularly cautioned children under the age of 10 have difficulty judging speed and distance. Of course, every child is different. However, parents should initiate conversations with their children about the speed and distance of moving vehicles. It is a good idea to ask a child to demonstrate their ability to judge before allowing them to walk on their own.
Children are prone to the same distractions as adults. From walking with headphones in to texting and walking, these distractions put people in danger. Teach children to stop and step off the sidewalk out of the foot traffic, before using their phones, rather than walk and use the phone at the same time.
Expect Bad Driving
Children should know just because there is a stop sign doesn’t mean an oncoming car is going to stop. They should attempt to make eye contact with a driver before stepping in front of the car. They should also expect some drivers are just bad drivers, perhaps because they, too, are distracted by texting or using their phone.
If Your Child Has Been Injured
As parents, we do the best we can to keep our children safe. However, sometimes, even with the best advice, our children get hurt through the thoughtless or careless actions of others. If your child has been injured while walking, our pedestrian accident attorneys can help. At Hilton & Somer, LLC, we work with families whose children have been hurt or killed by a car or truck driver. Let us help your family. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your child’s injuries. We are happy to meet with you in our office, in the comfort of your home, or another location convenient to you. Call (703) 560-0700.
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