Submitted by Pat G., Sprout Contributor
Source: 2009 Safe Ride News Publications
Safe Walking: Keeping Young Pedestrians Safe and Fit
Why Children Under age 10 are in Danger From Cars
Children pay attention to only one thing at a time. When playing, they may forget about traffic.
They often act without thinking.
Children do not understand the danger of a moving car. They cannot judge the speed of a vehicle coming toward them.
When they see a car, they think that the driver sees them and can stop for them.
They cannot judge where a sound is coming from.
Because children are small, it is harder for drivers to see them.
Walking is good for everyone's health
Walking in a safe area is one of the best ways for children and adults to stay healthy. It also allows older children to become independent. Parents can teach young children safe walking skills while they walk together.
Did You Know?
Many parents think young children can cross streets safely long before they are ready. Know your child's ability. Experts say many children are able to make good judgments in traffic at about age 9 or 10.
Most often children are hit by vehicles near their homes in the afternoon. Some are hit at bus stops by cars passing their school bus illegally.
Speed kills. A person hit by a car going 20 MPH has a 5 percent chance of dying. At 40 MPH, the chance of dying increases to 85 percent.
Steps you can take:
Find safe play areas away from streets, driveways, or parked cars.
Children need space for active outdoor play, but they are in danger near traffic.
Make sure an adult or trusted teenager watches children under age 10 carefully around traffic.
Do not expect children under age 12 or 13 to care for younger ones near streets.
Say "no" when your child begs to walk places without an adult if she is not ready to.
Find safer things that she can do to feel important.
Teach your child to walk safely.
Set a good example. Show him how to cross streets safely. Make sure he learns to stay on sidewalks. On streets where there are no sidewalks, make sure he walks facing traffic.
Find the safest walking routes to school, park, library, and friends' homes.
Make children easy to see.
They should wear fluorescent (bright) colors in the day and clothes with reflectors in the dark.
Slow down when you are driving.
Be careful on local streets or near schools and playgrounds. Always stop for school buses with flashing red lights. Work with neighbors to slow traffic on local streets.