Every year, thousands of children are injured in accidents on the road. Teaching your kids about the rules of the road and how to stay safe can help to reduce the chance of your child being involved in a road traffic accident.
It's a good idea to start teaching your child how to cross the road safely from an early age. Although it's unlikely that your child will ever have to cross the road on his or her old until he or she is much older, it's comforting to know that if they ever end up in the situation where they have to cross the road independently, they'll know what to do.
Start by teaching the importance of stopping, looking and listening before crossing the road. Explain that they must always stop at the kerb because cars may be coming down the road very quickly and stepping into oncoming traffic is dangerous. Then go on to talk about how cars can come towards pedestrians from both directions, making look both ways very important. Listening carefully before crossing is also important because cars can sometimes be heard before they are seen. Tell your children that they should only cross the road after they have stopped, looked and listened, and are sure that there are no cars coming either up or down the road; then, cross the road with them, explaining that they should always cross the road in a straight line, and always bear in mind the Green Cross Code.
Next, talk about safe places to cross. Highlight places that are unsafe, such as behind parked cars and at junctions and bends where it is harder for drivers to see pedestrians and accidents are more likely to happen. Teach your children about designated pedestrian crossing, and how the red and green man symbol and pelican and puffin crossings indicates when it is safe to cross the road after the button next to the crossing has been pushed.
Make learning about road safety fun and interesting for your child by implementing it in walks with your child.
Teaching your child to recognize and understand road traffic signs will help keep them safe, too. The function of most road traffic signs is to give instructions, warnings and information to drivers; however, teaching your kids how to interpret basic road signs can give them a heads-up when it comes to understanding the rules of the road and how to keep safe. Some signs are targeted at pedestrians, such as the 'No pedestrians signs' - a circular shaped sign with a red-edge and a picture of a man walking - and it's important that your child understands these signs in particular to stop them from walking in areas where it isn't safe for pedestrians to go. The sign for a pedestrian crossing (a triangular, red-edged signed with a man walking across a dotted line) is a good for one for your children to become familiar with; its purpose is to highlight safe areas to cross the road. In the event that your child ever becomes separated from you or lost, road signs may help your child to identify his or her location, or find directions to places such as a supermarket, library or police station when he or she can find help. You can make learning about road traffic signs fun by looking up pictures of signs on-line and guessing their meanings.