Five Tips for Teaching Road Safety to Kids
Did you know that road trauma is the leading cause of death and second most frequent cause of hospitalisation among children in Australia, according to the Road Safety Education Victoria website?
How can you keep your kids safe on the roads? Here are five safety tips for teaching kids how to negotiate traffic when moving around your neighbourhood.
- Engage with your kids as you move around day to day.
Talk to your kids as you are driving, walking or riding around your community about what’s going on around them. Ask them where they think is the best place to cross the road or whether they can see any cars coming out from between parked cars. You can start this while your child is still in the stroller so they will learn to always be aware of the traffic conditions around them.
- Always hold hands when crossing the road.
Kids don’t really develop a fully independent awareness of road safety until they are 10 or 11, according to the Raising Children website. While they still require supervision, it’s a good habit to require your kids to always hold your hand when anywhere near traffic or cars. This is especially true for toddlers and pre-schoolers who don’t always want to follow instructions.
- Remember driveways are hazardous traffic spots too.
Especially in neighbourhood communities that might seem quiet, it’s important to remind your kids that driveways are just as dangerous as roads. Explain that reversing cars might not be able to see small children darting in front of the vehicle. It’s good practice to get your kids to pause or stop at every driveway you have to pass to check for potential moving vehicles.
- Teach bike safety as soon as they start on training wheels.
Learning how to handle a bicycle around traffic is just as important as learning how to ride or even wearing a helmet. As soon as your child starts to ride a bike or scooter, teach them about how to use shared pathways with pedestrians and other riders as well as the importance of always looking around them.
- Lead by example
The best way you can reinforce these important lessons to your kids is by actually doing as you say. When you are with children always cross the street at a designated pedestrian crossing or the safest crossing point. Walk calmly while checking in both directions rather than dashing to dodge traffic. And don’t move around traffic with any distractions such as while reading or talking on your phone.
Additional Resources on Road Safety:
Road Safety Education Victoria
Transport Accident Commission (TAC)http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/safe-driving/parents