The summer sun is high in the sky. The mornings are warm and the last days of school are in session. Your kids are antsy, ready for their vacation to begin. You’ve booked activities to keep them occupied, and created a list of chores for them to complete. This will help fill their days, but you also know that they will spend plenty of time outside.
The kids are excited to bust out the sidewalk chalk, their bikes and the sprinkler. You love that they want to play outside. When the kids are outside, they are active and get in plenty of exercise. You also have concerns. Summertime and being outside means there will be more people out and cars on the road.
Before summer vacation begins, give your kids a safety reminder.
Regardless of their age, how well-mannered they are, or how many times they’ve heard the speech, it doesn’t hurt to remind your kids about simple safe practices. You can put your own rules in place as well. According to the CDC, one in five children killed in traffic accidents in 2015 were pedestrians. Tell them you don’t want your children to become part of those statistics.
When it comes to walking, biking and skating, make sure you go over the following:
- Remind them the importance of looking both ways before crossing a street.
- Talk to them about being alert around driveways.
- Have them stick to areas that have sidewalks and crosswalks when possible.
- Plan specific routes ahead of time that they can use to get to popular spots.
- Advise them against weaving between parked cars or running into the street after a ball.
- Tell them to walk facing traffic if they must use a street that has no sidewalk.
- Create buddy and check-in systems.
- Make rules about being home before dark. As a precaution, equip their bikes with reflectors and have them carry a flashlight.
- Instruct them to make eye contact with motorists to ensure they are seen by drivers.
- Teach them appropriate hand signals so that they can easily communicate with cyclists, motorists and other pedestrians.
- Create rules regarding the use of headphones, cellphones and other technology to keep them free from distractions.
It is okay to have separate rules that are more age appropriate for each child. Even if you know your children understand these rules, you should still go over them. It only takes one mistake for something bad to happen. As always, lead by example when you are out and about.