Teach Your Children to be Safe Pedestrians Before Summer Rolls Around

With summer right around the corner, it’s important to consider pedestrian safety for your kids and teach them to be street savvy. Personal injury lawyers in Ontario see an increase in motor vehicle accidents involving children each summer. As neighborhoods are dealing with more motor vehicle crashes than ever before, many of them due to driver distraction, it’s important to teach your children to be proactive when navigating local streets.

Road Safety Diligence

Keeping kids safe is easy at home or school when they are under watchful eyes. But come summer, kids want to be outside playing. This can be a vulnerable time for parents and children alike. The ICBC has set out some ways you can be more diligent about road safety for your kids this summer.

Practice and Good Role Modeling

Teaching your kids to be safe pedestrians is a matter of practice and right modeling. For younger children, take the time to map out their routes and walk them out together. Make it fun and interactive while teaching your children about signs and landmarks, using crosswalks and when crossing the street is appropriate. Model good pedestrian behavior when you are with them. Remember, it’s not so much what you say but what you do that counts.

The Basics

Remember the basics when you are teaching kids how to cross the street and use pedestrian walkways. Many accidents with children happen when they inadvertently dart into the street. Children are simply not mature enough to understand that they may be in harm’s way. It is important to make sure you keep safety in the forefront of their minds with a stop, look, and listen approach. Teach them about wearing bright or reflective clothing in order to be more readily seen by a driver and to always cross in a crosswalk at an intersection. And even while walking on a sidewalk, teach them that they are safer walking on the side away from the street.

Review the Rules Often

Review these rules with them each time they go out to play. And set limits on how far they can walk alone. A standard rule of thumb is that any child under the age of 10 should never be without adult supervision. Set out specific play areas that you consider safe and ones that are absolutely off limits to them.

When it comes to older kids and teens, you still need to be enacting parental parameters. Teach them proper cycling rules and make sure their bikes have reflective qualities and are outfitted with a bell and lights. Wearing a bike helmet is the law in Ontario. Teach children about how to be visible on their bikes and how to use hand signals and shoulder checks. It is illegal to ride on most sidewalks and crosswalks, so teach them to use bike lanes as often as possible in order to be safe and reduce any conflict with motor vehicles.

If you or your child has been involved in a pedestrian accident, make sure you contact an expert injury lawyer in Ontario. Know your rights.