Created on: March 12, 2013 Last Updated: April 03, 2013
Once a child is walking and is ready to walk outside, it is time to teach road safety. It is never too early, and it is best to start as soon as your child is able to walk outside with you. The basics are already taught to begin with. Your child learns from you and the example you lead. It is important to always be street smart and show your child how to stay safe whilst crossing the road. When it comes to the time that your child is able to go out alone, you want to feel confident that road safety has been instilled in your child.
Teaching kids road safety:
Road safety basics
When out walking with your child always hold her hand and emphasize the importance of holding hands to stay safe. The only time you should let go is when you are not near any roads or dangers. When you approach a road ensure your child is holding your hand. Narrate how to cross the road “stop, look, listen” are words that should be clearly spoken each time you cross the road. Always cross the road at a safe place and wait until the road is clear. Rushing to get across the road can teach bad habits. Always play it safe and teach right from the start.
Stop, look and listen
Always stop, even if the road looks clear. Your child needs to learn to stop at the curb to check that it is safe to cross. Teach your child about crossing at a safe place, such as pedestrian crossing or where you have a clear view. This is of utmost importance, and just as importantly, let your child understand not to rely on drivers to always stop at a pedestrian crossing. Stop, look and listen every time before stepping out onto the road. Look left, then right and left again. A crucial step is to ensure the road is clear before crossing. Always walk and never run, whilst remaining alert and looking both ways.
Practice road safety
You need to get your child to remember how to cross the road safely, and for it to be second nature to them. Each and every time you come to a road use the same technique and verbiage to teach your child. Consistency is beneficial with children and the best way for them to learn and remember. Once you have gone over the steps a few times, get your child to take control and ask them to inform you of the steps when you get to the road. Make this common practice, so your child says aloud “stop, look left, look right and look left again, cross.” This gets your child to remember the important steps.
You can also ask your child where a safe place is to cross, and when a less than safe place is chosen explain why it isn’t the best place. Crossing in a place that gives you a clear view and that allows drivers to see you, is crucial for staying safe when crossing the road. Always, always make sure you and your child stop at the curb every time without fail. Look left, look right, look left again and when clear cross safely.
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