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Once toddlers are able to walk, there will be no stopping them. They will be off whenever they can! Watching your little one learn to find its feet in the home can be very fun and entertaining. They’ll get up to a lot of mischief. And you will certainly enjoy watching them totter around your living room seeing how far they can get on their own.
However, when they are outside it can be an entirely different matter. As there is something that could pose a very big risk indeed – roads. Thankfully, your toddler probably won’t be anywhere near a dangerous road without you.
However, once your child is old enough to start playing outside unsupervised, you will need to make sure that they know all about road safety. This will keep them safe and away from danger while they are playing. And it will also ensure that you don’t worry about them all the time.
Road safety isn’t something that will come naturally to your kids. You need to teach it to them and ensure that they are fully aware of how to act when they are ever close to roads, in a car, or trying to cross the street.
Sure, they will get some education on road safety from their teachers at school, but it’s important that the bulk of this comes from you. Not too sure what you need to teach them?
Here’s my ultimate guide to road safety for kids. Hopefully, it should give you a few useful ideas.
Set A Good Example Yourself
Firstly, it is necessary to consider how you cross the road and how you are when walking along a busy street. This is especially important when you are out and about with your child. Children always learn by example. So it is necessary that you set a good example for yours.
So, make sure you are aware of the Green Cross Code yourself and that you know all of the rules you need to stick to. Secondly, you should never take any risks when trying to cross the road. If your kids see you doing this, then they will start copying you. So, you might want to stop trying to cross the road at anywhere other than a pedestrian crossing, for instance.
Similarly, you should also show that you have plenty of patience. It can take a while for the perfect time to cross the road to come about. If your kids see a lack of patience and try to rush over the road as you do, they could be a lot more likely to end up in an accident.
Be Sensitive To Any Potential Issues
If your child has ever lost a relative or a friend to a car accident, already been involved in one, or even witnessed one, then you might have to be sensitive with how you go about teaching them road safety.
Even just talking to them about how to act when crossing the road could end up dragging a lot of negative thoughts and emotions back up for them, which could really upset them.
It might be necessary to take them out of any road safety lessons at school as it could be too much for them. A softer, slower, and more thoughtful way of talking to them and teaching them about road safety might be necessary so that they aren’t upset any more than necessary.
You might find it necessary to talk to a counselor about the best way to deal with such a sensitive issue.
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Practise With Them
Simply talking to your child about road safety can make a big difference and will help teach them about all the basics. However, it will really help to also reinforce this by practising with them. There are various ways you can do this.
One great thing to do is to practice crossing the road together. When you are walking down the street and decide to cross over, you should then both look for the nearest pedestrian crossing and make your way to it. Then, tell your child to hold your hand as they look both ways and try to listen to see if they can hear any oncoming traffic.
Once you are both sure that it is safe to cross, you should walk over , hand in hand, to the other side of the road.
Learn The Green Cross Code
It is also necessary to teach your child the Green Cross Code. This is the guide made up of all the basic rules of road safety, and it also includes tips on how we are meant to cross the road in a safe manner.
Most schools will teach this in class. But it’s still a good idea for you to go through it with your child so that you can help to reinforce their learning.
It should be easy enough for your child to learn all of the points in the code, and there are lots of great YouTube videos that can help reinforce their learning further.
Always Use Pedestrian Crossings
When you are crossing the road, it is necessary to tell your child that they need to always use pedestrian crossings. These include the likes of zebra crossings, traffic lights, and traffic islands.
These have been placed in roads to help pedestrians by providing them with a safe place to cross. It will always be a lot safer to cross at these rather than any other spot on the road.
When car drivers pass these kinds of crossings, they will always be alert to the fact that pedestrians may be trying to cross. So should, hopefully, slow down and be a lot more aware of their surroundings.
Point Out Dangerous Areas
If there are any potentially dangerous areas for crossing the road near where you live, it is important that you point these out to your child so that they are aware of them. You need to tell them that they should avoid crossing in these areas and that they should always try to use the pedestrian crossings.
It is also necessary to point out any places on the road where a pedestrian’s sight could be hindered because of poor visibility. Your child will need to take extra special care when walking along these stretches as they might not be so visible to drivers.
Tell Them To Put Their Phone Away
Smartphones can be a big distraction for children. There’s no doubt that you will have already noticed kids and teenagers walking around aimlessly glued to their phone screens. They often look like zombies!
Well, it is crucial that your child doesn’t use their phone when they are walking by a busy road, even if there is a large pavement for them to walk on. This is especially essential when they are crossing the road.
They should put their phones away when they are waiting at a pedestrian crossing to cross over, or else they might not realize exactly what is going on in their surrounding environment.
There is no doubt that being distracted by a mobile phone could result in them being more likely to get injured in a road traffic accident.
Wear Bright Clothing When Evenings Get Darker
Once the autumn arrives, the clocks will go back and the evenings will start to draw in. As a result, the evenings will start to get a lot darker.
During these seasons, you should make your child wear some bright clothing. Or even better, some high-vis material or clothes so that every single driver out there on the road will be able to spot them.
You can buy high-vis jackets and arm-bands from most cycle shops and sports stores. Some schools even give them away for free to their pupils.
Teach Your Child To Walk On The Inside Of The Pavement
When you are walking together with your child, you should make sure that they are on the inside of the pavement and you are between them and the road. This way, you can protect them from any cars that could be driving too closely to the curb.
Plus, you will be able to stop them from gaining any hit and run injuries or falling into the middle of the road. Not only that though, your child should then learn to walk as far away from the road as possible even when you are not around.
Get All The Family On Board
When you are teaching your child the importance of road safety, you should make sure that the rest of your family know that you are doing so. That way, they can chip in and help you out in any way they can.
Plus, they will know to be extra vigilant when crossing the road so that they don’t end up giving your child any bad habits. The more people who help out teaching your child about road safety, then the faster they will learn!
Hopefully, this guide has covered everything that you ever wanted to know about road safety for kids.