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How to Teach Street Safety to Children

by Kathryn Hatter

As children grow older, they’ll need a healthy respect of the street and vehicles that travel therein. Because you can’t be with your child every minute, teaching street safety to your youngster should ensure that she stays out of the road and crosses carefully when she does need to venture forth. Eventually, a child will probably even join the traffic on the street with a bicycle and then bigger and better vehicles.

Teach your child from the beginning of toddlerhood that streets are where vehicles travel and she could get hurt if she wanders or runs into the street without supervision or permission. Reinforce this lesson by preventing your child from accessing the street alone or without holding the hand of a responsible adult.

Model safe pedestrian behavior for your child whenever near the street, advises the National Highway Transportation Safety Association. Show your child how to look for a crosswalk for safe crossing, stop at the curb before crossing, look every direction to notice moving vehicles, listen for approaching vehicles and wait until the intersection is clear. When it’s safe to cross, insist that your child hold your hand every time and walk across the street. Maintain this consistency so your child knows she cannot walk or run into the street without holding a hand.

Talk about vehicle drivers and the fact that they don’t always see small children from behind the wheel. This is especially true for a small child and a high-profile vehicle. For this reason, it’s imperative that you train your child to exercise caution and not approach a vehicle or an area where vehicles travel, states the KidsandCard.org website.

Maintain constant vigilance and supervision of your child whenever she may have exposure to moving vehicles or a roadway. Even a driveway requires constant supervision for young children as people pull in and out of the driveway, cautions the SafeKids website.

Provide constant supervision for children as pedestrians until a child reaches age 7, advises the National Highway Transportation Safety Association. After age 7 -- and with careful teaching, coaching and testing -- a child may have the skills and maturity to cross the street safely, provided the child uses a crosswalk. Before allowing your child to cross the street independently, test her skills by observing the process and technique she uses to determine whether she is capable of safely crossing the street.

Make a rule that your child will never chase a toy out into the street. If a ball rolls away, your child should get help to retrieve the ball, advises the Education.com website.

Tip

  • If you choose to develop road skills for a budding cyclist, ensure your child has strong biking skills first before working on road skills. Teach basic road skills such as biking on the right side of the road, watching for turning and backing-out vehicles and obeying all road signs and traffic signals. Children younger than age 10 probably are not mature enough to bike independently, cautions the National Highway Transportation Safety Association.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

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