Whether kids are walking to school, the park or to the mailbox, it is important that they are familiar with and follow road safety rules. According to Statista.ca, in 2018, more than 330 pedestrians were killed in road traffic collisions in Canada. Pedestrian fatalities and injuries occur because of a variety of factors, including:
- Motorists failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians
- Distracted driving
Many kids don’t think of these factors when out walking. Tirf.ca states that younger pedestrians, aged 14 years and younger are a high-risk group for pedestrian collisions.
“According to a pedestrian safety review by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) in 2013, the overall physical, cognitive, visual, auditory development of children puts them at a disadvantage as a pedestrian (CCMTA 2011; PHAC 2012).”
Adults can help ensure kids are aware and alert to the dangers of being a pedestrian in a few ways. Firstly, adults should discuss the basic walking safety skills in simple terms that are age-appropriate. As well, if you have a young child, hold hands while walking.
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Kids
- Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and remind them to continue looking until safely across.
- Teach and remind kids (and teenagers) to put phones, headphones and other devices down when crossing the street.
- Remind kids that it is always best to walk on sidewalks where possible and to cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, teach kids how to walk facing traffic, as far to the left as possible.
- Be a good role model, set a good example by putting your own phone, headphones and devices away while walking.
- Be as visible to vehicle drivers as possible. This includes wearing reflective gear while walking at night.
Road safety is a shared responsibility, regardless of how you use the road. Our friends, family, children, and colleagues are impacted several times daily by road safety. When tragedy strikes, too often we feel powerless in terms of making an impact to prevent further issues.
Do you have #RoadSMARTS?
If you would like to get more involved in road safety, we invite you to take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge as an individual or family, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.road-smarts.ca/