When we raise our children to be responsible and safe, one of the first things that we tell them is to hold our hand and look both ways before crossing the road. But eventually, you have to let go of their hands and trust them to walk alone. Just because you are letting them have more independence and freedom, however, doesn’t mean they should throw out the safety rulebook. According to the Federal Highway Administration, pedestrian fatalities make up about 12 percent of all traffic related fatalities. This actually accounts for one fatality every 1.6 hours. For children, pedestrian accidents such as being struck by a vehicle are “the fifth leading cause of injury-related death”. Even though this may seem surprising, teens are at an even greater risk; their death rate from pedestrian accidents is twice that of younger children. Here are some tips on how to keep your children safe when they are outside.
- One of the first things that you need to do is make sure that you supervise your children closely, especially when they are younger. A child cannot accurately judge distance and speed until they are about ten.
- Also, make sure that your child knows to play in the yard or the park but not in the street. If their ball or a pet goes out into the street, they should not run after it. Instead, they should stop, look both ways, and then get the item or let you know so you can get it.
- Don’t allow your child to play in the street. Many people will set up a portable basketball goal in the street for their teenagers to have pick-up games. This is an easy way to get hurt. Instead, set up the goal in the yard on a hard concrete patio or driveway.
- Talk to your children about bus safety. Some accidents involve walking behind the bus when they are approaching it or also not paying attention to traffic when exiting the bus. (Unfortunately, just because drivers are supposed to stop for school buses doesn’t mean that they always do.)
- If your child walks to school, make sure that you walk with them. This way, you can teach them about traffic laws such as crosswalks as you go. Remember, you are your child’s first teacher. If you model appropriate behavior as a pedestrian, then your child is more likely to be safe.
- Texting and driving is not the only danger with cellphones. Many teens will not pay attention to their surroundings while they are on their cellphones. Make sure you talk about this with your children so that they are cognizant of what is going on around them.
- Be aware of your surroundings as well. When you are backing out of your driveway, be sure to double and triple check to make sure that there are no kids behind you. (If your car has a back-up camera that shows you your blind-spot, be sure to use it.) Also, make sure you follow all speed limits, particularly in residential areas. Even if you are going the speed limit, take a second and slow down a little if you notice children out playing who might run out in front of your car at a moment’s notice.
The first step in making sure that your children stay safe is talking with them. Don’t make them so scared of the outside world that they don’t want to venture outside and play, but make sure that they respect the road and pay attention to what they are doing.
We want all your children to stay safe but just in case the worst happens and your child is injured in a pedestrian crash this summer contact the offices of Wolf & Pravato so we can help you protect your child and get you everything you deserve.