News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood

 

What a Close Call Can Teach Your Kids About Crosswalk Safety

September 5th, 2014 · 3 Comments

photo credit:blackboxberlin

With the news of a 12 year old boy hit by a car this morning in Wallingford, it’s time to review pedestrian safety with our kids. Especially those of us with older kids that are starting to venture out-and-about on their own.

Even as our children become older, wiser and more independent, it is still really important to check in with them about basic rules-of-the-road.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stresses five reasons why kids are most vulnerable as pedestrians:

• They often act before thinking.
• They often make the mistake of thinking
that if they can see a driver, the driver
can see them.
• They can’t judge speed or the distance of
vehicles moving toward them.
• They think cars can stop instantly.
• They’re difficult to see when behind a
backing vehicle.

First, lets check out a disturbing statistic:

The NHTSA reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young children. Twenty percent of fatal crashes involving children between the ages of 5 and 9 involve pedestrian-related fatalities.

The NHTSA says that children age ten and older are often ready for the challenges of having more opportunities to walk unsupervised but they still need reinforcement and reminders about safe walking behaviors. They recommend practicing with them on specific routes so they can talk to them about where to walk, cross and any other safety considerations.

Some Important Tips:

  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • In this digital age, it’s very important to model proper walking etiquette by putting down your device (phone, tablet, etc.) when walking with your kids.
  • Teach kids to ALWAYS look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • Keep in mind that it may be hard for certain kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.
  • Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • And when you are driving, make sure to get off your digital devices, be alert for bicyclists, pedestrians and other road hazards.

For more safety tips check out the NHTSA website

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