Have you ever texted a friend while walking down a sidewalk and thought “what’s the worst that could happen?” The truth is, a lot can happen. Like a car going 30 miles per hour. Or a truck backing into a driveway.

Our children can encounter these dangers every day if they don’t learn to take action against distractions.

Here’s a guide for parents to follow in instructing our children on how to walk safely in their neighborhoods, to school or any other place they go:

 Teach Kids How to Walk Safely 

  1. Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  2. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  3. Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  4. Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  5. Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
  6. Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  7. If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.

Take Action Against Distraction 

  1. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce the message with teenagers.
  2. Pull headphones down or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
  3. Be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone who is in danger.
  4. If kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area to talk.

 Let Your Actions Speak as Loudly as Your Words

  1. Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.
  2. When driving, put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until your final destination.
  3. Be especially alert and slow down when driving in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
  4. Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.

(Information source: Safe Kids International)

(Photo source: Behance.net)