Back to School Means Watch Out for Child Pedestrians!As summer comes to an end, kids all over America are gearing up to go back to school. And many of them will be walking.
Walking to school is a first glimpse of independence many kids get to experience. Unfortunately, kids are inexperienced pedestrians. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.” When it comes to kids, pedestrian education is key.
New steps are always being taken to work on child pedestrian safety, and schools are even implementing pedestrian education in their curriculum. For parents, it’s important to remember that education starts at home. Adults often forget that kids simply do not view traffic in the same way adults do. Children can’t judge the distance and speed of cars because their peripheral vision is two-thirds that of an adult.
It’s important to slowly immerse kids into good pedestrian habits, and make it fun for them. Lessons should start out in safe zones, and over time move toward more busy roads. A good starting point is telling your kids what areas are safest for crossing the street, and why.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
To adults, walking seems like a self-explanatory activity. To kids, it’s not. Even the most mundane safety tip for walking is worth mentioning to your child.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind while teaching your kids road safety:
- Hold your child’s hand to begin with. Don’t let your kids just run off on the first try of crossing the road. Start your lessons slowly, and let them progress into walking alone when you are certain they can handle it.
- Don’t let your kids run ahead of you. Any small lapse in judgment or distraction could have a tragic result.
- Obey traffic signals. Yes, sometimes the road looks nice and empty on a red light, but if you want your kids to pick up good habits, you have to lead by example.
- Verbalize everything. Explain out loud why what you’re doing is important and how it helps your children stay safe.
- Cross at intersections only. Again, don’t let your kids pick up bad pedestrian habits from you.
- Cross safely. Look in both directions and listen for traffic.
- Teach your kids the importance of always walking on the sidewalk.
- Make sure that your kids wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night. Ideally, try to avoid walking at night.
- Show them a good example by always obeying the rules of the road.
Driving Safety Tips
No driver wants the guilt of bumping a child with a car. Here are a few safety tips drivers need to keep in mind, especially around school zones:
- Stay alert! Being distracted is an increasingly common cause for car accidents. Staying alert will help drivers avoid any last-second braking emergencies.
- Slow down in populated areas with pedestrians.
- Always yield to pedestrians, even on unmarked crosswalks.
- Be especially vigilant when making a turn. Many accidents happen when drivers turn right on an intersection and miss oncoming pedestrians.
- Don’t try to cut off kids. Kids can sometimes walk slowly or dilly-dally while crossing the road. Drivers shouldn’t get impatient and try to drive around them. It could lead to a tragic accident.
- Be VERY cautious around schools, where children are present.
If Your Child Was Hit, Contact a Lawyer
Having a child injured by a car is a parent’s worst nightmare. Due to their small size, kids make for vulnerable pedestrians and can suffer bad injuries. As a parent, you want to protect your kids. If something happens due to someone else’s negligence, your child should rightfully be compensated for it.
If your child was injured while walking, you need the help of a knowledgeable Washington child pedestrian attorney to get the compensation they deserve. Let us focus on the details of your case, while you focus on your child’s recovery. Please contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (888) 228-3860 to discuss your legal rights.