Walking to and from school is great exercise for kids, and a convenient way to get them from the classroom to the home and vice versa. While walking to school often occurs without incident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2012, there were a total of 4,743 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents. Additionally, in 2012, about one-fifth of children ages five to 15 killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
Reducing the risks for pedestrian accidents in Kirkland and the rest of the United States is critical. In order to keep your child safe, here are some tips for pedestrian safety for kids who walk to school.
Put Safety First When Crossing the Street
A conversation about street safety for kids often starts by discussing crossing the street. Many routes to school are lined with crossing guards to help children cross roads safely. However, regardless of whether there’s a crossing guard or not, you should review safe crossing tips with your child.
According to the NHTSA “A Kid’s Guide to Safe Walking,” safety tips for pedestrian safety for kids crossing streets include the following.
- stopping at the curb or edge of the road.
- looking left and then right and left again to check for cars.
- waiting until all cars have passed before walking.
- walking, not running, across the road when you are sure no cars are coming.
The stop, look, wait, walk, approach is an easy and efficient way to teach kids about crossing streets safely.
It’s also important to teach children how to walk safely when on their way to school. First of all, remind your child to always use sidewalks. If a sidewalk isn’t available, encourage your child to always walk facing traffic.
Additionally, remind children how important it is that cars are able to see them. As such, dress your child in bright colors or insist upon the use of a reflective vest, and give a flashlight to carry if ever walking when daylight is scarce.
Walk with Friends
Walking in a group of friends is much safer than walking alone. Not only does an increase in numbers allow for greater visibility to drivers, but walking in a group allows for an extra set of eyes to check for oncoming traffic.
Rather than sending your child to school alone each day, pair him or her up with a group of neighborhood kids, or consider starting up a Safe Routes to School program.
Be Alert and Pay Attention to Surroundings
When walking home, children may be tempted to play with friends in a rambunctious manner, check their phone for text messages, or read papers, homework, or notes sent home by a teacher. However, it’s important to remind your child to save the distractions until he or she gets home, and to concentrate on surroundings while walking home.
A key to pedestrian safety for kids is remaining smart and alert, and aware of potential dangers. Remind your child to keep a look out for cars, to make eye contact with drivers, and to stay clear of obstacles before crossing so drivers have a visual.
What to Do When an Accident Happens
While following road safety tips for children can certainly limit the risk of accidents, they still happen. If you or a family member has been involved in an accident as a pedestrian, it’s important to seek legal counsel immediately.
At Max Meyers Law PPLC, we know how traumatizing an accident can be, and we’ll work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. For a free case consultation and for answers to all your questions, call us today at 425-399-7000.