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Kids and pedestrian safety: A few rules to save your child's life

Children are smaller than adults and they also tend to act in unpredictably playful ways. This is one of the reasons why children are so fun to spend time with, but it also puts them at risk in traffic situations: Being smaller means they're more difficult to see and being unpredictable means that they could dart out into traffic and not give drivers enough time to react.

Because children are especially vulnerable to getting into a pedestrian versus car crash, it's important to establish the following traffic safety rules for your child:

  • Look three ways: Teach your child to look three ways before crossing the road. They need to look left, look right and then look left a third time to certain that the way is clear.
  • Walk where you're supposed to: Tell your child to walk where there is a designated path or sidewalk whenever possible.
  • Cross where you're supposed to: Teach your child to only cross the road at intersections or where there's a designated pedestrian crossing.
  • Walk far from traffic: If your child encounters a road without a walkway and there are no other options, he or she should walk as far away from traffic as possible, and walking in the direction of the traffic flow is always best.
  • Make eye contact: Making eye contact with drivers prior to crossing the street is essential so your child knows the driver sees him or her. That will prevent the dangers of a dart out accident.
  • Keep on the look-out: Teach your child to watch out for turning cars and cars that could soon transition to a backing up motion.
  • No dart-outs: Teach your children the importance of not darting into the street, and not beginning to cross the road between two parked vehicles.

If you teach your child the above rules repeatedly, he or she will be more likely to follow them throughout childhood and adulthood. This could save his or her life and prevent the need to pursue a personal injury claim against a driver who strikes them.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide, "Teach Kids How to Walk Safely," accessed May 11, 2018

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