Fortunately children are very intelligent and receptive to simple rules, which makes it vital for parents, teachers or those responsable for them to teach them everything they should know and be aware of as young pedestrians. There is no better strategy for teaching them than by example. once we are clear about this we can begin to refine our methods to pass this message on to our children.
Teaching road safety is based on dialogue and example
Children are still developing and even though they may be small, they are very intelligent and receptive, which makes it posible to have a dialogue with them at their level and instil in them ideas we wish them to understand. The mistake of thinking that small children are unable to comprehend “the rules”, is often due to the fact that we often don’t know how to explain complex ideas in simple terms. They feel better if they are included in what is going on, and road safety is no exception.
- Speak to your children about how to stay safe and be aware of their surrounding while out walking.
- Show then how to look left then right then left again before crossing the road. Teach them that they should not run on the sidewalk or out into the road and that they must never cross between parked cars.
- Teach them to always maintain visual contact with drivers before crossing the street and to keep an eye on cars that are turning or reversing.
- If we have to walk along a road or a lane, it is better to do it along a paralell one and if that isn’t posible, use the verge and walk facing towards the oncoming traffic (the left), and as far to the left as possible.
- Every child is different , they generally find it difficult to judge the distance and the speed of a vehicle until they reach 10 years of age.
- We should always cross the Street using a zebra crossing and whenever posible one with lights. Doing this sets a good example, also explain that it is for their safety.
As normal this is an educational process and as adults we have to work every day with our children to make sure they learn the basic safety rules, which they can follow for the rest of their lives and then pass on to their own children.