Learn how to help keep your child safe when crossing the street in this short video clip featuring Children’s of Alabama Safe Kids coordinator Marie Crew.
Walking to school can promote both healthy living and independence among children. However, it comes with a few dangers that you and your kids need to be aware of. Wednesday, Oct. 9th is International “Walk to School Day.” Children’s of Alabama wants your kids to reap all of the benefits and joys of walking to school while staying safe. Here are a few safety tips for you to share with your kids who walk to school:
- Go over traffic safety information. Stress the importance of crossing at the crosswalk (never between parked cars or in front of the school bus), waiting for the bus to stop before approaching it, and understanding traffic signals and signs.
- Map out a safe route. Help your child to pick the quickest, safest route to school. Routes should be visible from the street while avoiding as many busy intersections as possible.
- Look both ways. Teach your children to always stop and check for traffic in both directions before crossing a street, leaving a driveway, an alley or a curb. Kids should never assume that a car will stop.
- Watch traffic closely. Be sure that your children are awake and alert before sending them on their route. Kids should keep a good eye out for turning cars or cars leaving driveways when on the street.
- Set a good example. One of the best ways to help kids learn how to walk to school safely is to set a good example by following the rules of the road yourself. Walk the route to school with your kids a few times so you can show them what safe road rules look like. It’s also a great way to stay active as a family and get valuable together time that you’ll all enjoy!
- Know emergency contact information. Make sure your kids know their home phone number, the cell phone numbers of parents and any other trusted adult who’s supervising, and how to call 911 in case they get lost.
- Play it cool. Make sure your child understands that it’s never OK to accept rides, candy, or any other type of invitation from strangers. Avoid clothing with your kids name on it; kids tend to trust people who know their names.
- Stay in front of a bus. When they walk in front of the bus, kids should walk on the sidewalk next to the bus for at least 10 feet (about 3 meters), make sure the bus driver acknowledges them, and then cross the street.
- Don’t disappear. A child who drops something while crossing in front of a bus or car should never bend over to pick it up. This makes the child invisible to the driver. Instead, teach kids to tell the bus driver or car if they drop something.
For more information on this or other health and safety topics, please visit www.childrensal.org.