Keeping Safe on the Walk to School

Posted: Aug 31 2017 News

The start of the school year brings opportunities to establish new, healthy routines. Walking to school is a great way to encourage children to be more active, but parents need to ensure they are teaching basic road safety at an early age to protect their children from dangers such as speeding cars and unsecured crosswalks.

According to a pediatric study, children don’t fully develop the cognitive skills to safely cross the street until the age of 10. They notice the color of a car before processing its speed and can have difficulty assessing whether a vehicle is moving at all.

Here are a few things both parents and children should know about walking to school safely.

Start early – Teach children about pedestrian safety once they start walking. Take them out frequently on walks and discuss what to do in possible situations. Teach them how to use the crosswalk and why to look back and forth when crossing the road.

Adopt a buddy system – Encourage children to walk to school with other people such as siblings or friends. Parents can even coordinate with other families to take turns walking children to school. The larger the group of people, the more aware and careful drivers will be.

Point out landmarks – Teach children to recognize landmarks such as crosswalks and traffic signals to help them orient themselves and better remember the route to school. Be sure to also point out the houses of people you know, so your child knows a safe place they can go if they have a problem.

Keep the electronics away – Help children understand electronics such as iPods and cell phones can be distracting and dangerous while navigating the route to and from school. Encourage children to keep electronics in their bags while walking.

Stay alert all the time – Parents should always stress the importance of being alert and aware of their surroundings. Teach children to always be prepared and follow safe habits such as crossing at crosswalks, crossing with crossing guards, looking before crossing the street and stopping at the light.

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