Your children are learning all sorts of useful things in school, but as a parent you are still your children’s most important teacher. One important thing you can teach your child is how to navigate traffic safely. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents in Hollywood, Miami, and the rest of Southern Florida are an especially big risk for children. Children may act impulsively, may be harder to spot, and may not have the skills needed to cross streets safely.
As a parent, there are several things you can do to help your children:
1) Teach your children traffic signs.
You can make a game of it. Show children different road signs and have them explain to you what the signs mean. On road trips, have children point out all the stop signs or other safety signs they see and have them explain what each means. There are also online traffic safety games you can play, such as the games at the Might Kids Media site.
2) Understand when you should be teaching your child about pedestrian safety.
Children as young at three or four can be taught basic concepts – like “look both ways before you cross the street” or “never walk alone.” Until age ten, children should be closely supervised when walking, but can still be taught good pedestrian practices. It’s important to keep supervising and keep walking together until you can see your children can make the right choices on their own. Even if your child is older, they should not be walking alone until they can cross streets safely and obey traffic signs correctly with no reminders. The NHSTA has a site for parents, outlining how to teach pedestrian safety.
3) Go walking with your children.
Many children are dropped off at school and driven to activities, so they don’t get a chance to practice their walking skills. Make a point of taking small walks with your children; they will learn by watching you make good choices as a pedestrian. Start by walking around the block and then go for slightly longer strolls. If you live in a rural area or in a very busy area, consider walking along quieter residential streets first.
4) Explain to children what you’re doing to stay safe as you walk.
As you take walks with your younger children, explain what you are doing and why. Rather than just stopping at a crosswalk, explain how you decide where to cross the street and why you look both ways before crossing. Keep in mind that some things are hard for your child to notice. For example, your child might not notice you make eye contact with drivers to make sure they can see you. Point this out to your children and explain why it’s important. Repeating ideas will also help your children understand them more clearly.
If your child is injured in a pedestrian accident in Hollywood or anywhere on South Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our compassionate staff is made up of parents and we understand how frightening child injuries can be. It is our commitment to assist families with the legal advice and support they need.