Children aren't naturally cautious when it comes to walking through traffic and their small size puts them at increased risk of being overlooked by drivers -- and of suffering even worse injuries than adults who are struck by moving vehicles.
To start the process of teaching your child to be a good pedestrian, consider the following:
-- Never allow a child under the age of 10 to cross a street without supervision.
-- Focus on teaching children under 10 traffic safety skills, including the ability to choose a safe crossing spot based on the availability of crosswalks, traffic lights, signal guards and a clear view of oncoming cars.
-- Choose low-traffic routes to start teaching traffic safety and focus on judging safe distances, concentrating on the task at hand and switching attention from the traffic to the crosswalk as needed.
-- Model good traffic behavior for your child, such as stopping at each curb and looking both ways before crossing even though you are in a crosswalk.
-- When your child is old enough to begin crossing alone, consider walking the route he or she needs to use (like to and from school) with your child for a while and letting him or her model safe behavior for you.
Once your child has reached the age and maturity level where he or she can travel independently, consider these tips:
-- Try to arrange for your child to travel expected routes to and from school in a group, for greater visibility.
-- Don't allow your children to wear headphones while walking in areas where they will have to cross a street.
-- Make sure that your children keep cellphones in their pockets while they are walking near traffic or crossing streets. Teach them not to answer the phone while they are in the middle of the crosswalk, even if you are the person calling.
If an accident does happen and your child is injured by a careless or distracted driver, consider contacting an attorney to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit. For more information on how we approach auto-pedestrian accidents, please visit our page.