Teaching kids about crosswalk safety is essential to ensure their safety – because parents can’t always be there to protect them from harm.
The younger your child, the harder it may be for them to fully understand the dangers of the road, so it’s up to parents and caregivers to coach them on the importance of crosswalk safety. Here are some tips that can help:
As soon as children begin walking, they can start learning about the importance of crossing roads safely. Reinforce the importance of using crosswalks when crossing the street (and be a good role model by always using crosswalks yourself).
Many children learn best by doing, and practice makes perfect – so demonstrate how to use crosswalks by stopping at the edge of the curb, looking left and right and waiting for the walk signal before crossing. Practice crossing the street together until your child understands the process. Discuss the meanings of red lights, green lights, walk signals and crossing guards, too.
Use play to reinforce the lesson
Playing crosswalk games with your child is a fun way to reinforce the importance of crosswalk safety. Games such as “Red Light, Green Light” and “Simon Says” can help teach kids to stop and look both ways before crossing the street – and the lesson may stick better in their minds.
Be clear about the dangers
Don’t mince words: You want your child to understand the dangers of not using a crosswalk (or not using it correctly). Talk about the risks of getting hit by a car and the importance of staying visible to drivers when crossing the road.
Acknowledge and reward good habits
As your child grows older, continue to reinforce good crosswalk habits. Remind them to use crosswalks when crossing the street, and praise them when they remember to stop, look both ways and wait for the walk signal before crossing. Consider setting up a “test” for them (while you watch nearby) and reward them with ice cream or another treat for their success.