Walking to school or to other areas in the community is an excellent way to integrate physical activity into a child's daily life. However, children are at a high risk for pedestrian related injuries. Inform your clients that educating children about pedestrian safety should begin at a young age. Right through childhood, starting with kids in strollers, parents and adults can talk about the rules for safely crossing any road:
- stop before stepping onto the road
- look left, right, and left again
- listen for traffic before stepping out into the street
- wait until the road is clear
Adults can talk about how to cross the street safely any time they’re out for a walk. Over time, frequent crossing safety tips will become part of their child’s decisions.
- An adult should always accompany young children when crossing the street.
- Younger children don't have the cognitive and physical skills to make safe judgments about road crossing and traffic.
- A child’s ability to cross safely by themselves is based on their stage of development. Before crossing alone, a child needs to show the skills to:
- choose a safe crossing spot
- assess an incoming vehicle’s speed
- judge and find safe gaps in traffic
- these skills develop around the ages of 9 to 11 with regular practice.
- Encourage parents to visit the Parachute website to learn more about How to teach pedestrian safety to your child
- Remind your clients to teach and model pedestrian safety skills themselves (e.g., walking on the sidewalk, crossing at marked intersections) as soon as their child can walk.
Encourage clients to visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca to learn more about how to teach pedestrian safety, and how their child can be safe around vehicles like school busses.