July 5, 2011 – Now that school’s out for summer break, it’s an exciting time for kids and road safety won’t be their number one priority. Unfortunately, in 2010 alone, 64 child pedestrians (age 5 to 12) were injured in 63 incidents. This means most child pedestrian-related incidents result in a child being injured.
That’s why parents need to make sure their kids stay safe throughout the summer months. While drivers need to be extra cautious and look for child pedestrians during the summer, parents should take the opportunity to remind their children about staying safe on the roads.
Here are ICBC’s top five pedestrian safety tips for parents to share with their children:
No. 1 � Make it fun : Too often we preach to our kids � telling them what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Kids hate that, so make your road safety teaching fun while still treating it as a serious issue. Sparking their enthusiasm for road safety will help keep your children safe and encourage them to share all the things they learn with their classmates and friends. On your next walk through your neighbourhood, try a fun and interactive game by having your children point out all the traffic signs you see and ask if they know what they mean. In addition, remember, even older children need to be reminded about road safety. Try rewarding them for following the steps to safely crossing an intersection or coming up with solutions to intersection safety hazards they notice.
No. 2 � Be a role model : Parents are the number one role models for any young child so make sure you set a perfect example for them when teaching them about pedestrian safety around roads. If you are not modelling the behaviour you want your kids to emulate, then don’t expect them to be safe around roads. If your child sees you jaywalking, they will think it is okay to do and will do the same thing. The most common road safety error made by kids is in not finding a safe place to cross. Make sure you teach you child to cross at safe intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible.
No. 3 � Focus on the basics : Kids will digest information about serious issues when it’s kept simple and relevant for them to understand. Therefore, begin your pedestrian safety lessons with the key basics that you learned as a kid, and which are still relevant today. A great example is how to properly cross at intersections:
- Stop : Before crossing, always stop at the curb. Make sure all vehicles have stopped.
- Look : Look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look again over your shoulders for vehicles that might be turning. Teach your kids to keep looking for approaching vehicles as they cross.
- Listen : Listen for approaching traffic that you can’t yet see.
- Make eye contact : Children must assume that drivers have not seen them whenever they are around roads. Even if the walk signal is on, teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before they cross.
- Walk : Teach your kids to never run when crossing a road.
No. 4 � Mark out safe areas : Focus on teaching your kids where to position themselves when they are around roads to ensure they are in as safe a position as possible. Children should always walk on the inside edge of a sidewalk � this way they are less exposed to traffic. If there isn’t the option of walking on a sidewalk, teach your kids to always walk facing oncoming traffic so they can see approaching vehicles and make eye contact with drivers.
No. 5 � Park it : Parking lots, or any areas where cars commonly park, require special attention. Vehicles can back up or move without warning and can do so quickly. Parking vehicles can be a complex manoeuvre too, and while drivers should always be looking out for pedestrians they can often be distracted when parking. In addition, it is often tough for drivers to spot pedestrians � especially small children � when they are walking around or between parked cars. When walking with your child, avoid any unnecessary shortcuts through parking lots.
ICBC provides free road safety materials to schools across BC. The materials are unique to each grade level and encourage road safety among students with fun and interactive activities. For information on ordering these materials and for more safety tips, go to icbc.com and click on ‘road safety’.
ICBC serves 3.2 million customers in the province of British Columbia, Canada. ICBC licenses and insures drivers and vehicles across the province through its service centres, plus a network of more than 900 independent brokers and government agent offices. Claims customers are served through local offices and an award-winning Dial-a-Claim call centre. ICBC’s road safety investments help create safer roads, lead to fewer crashes, and help keep rates stable. To find out more, visit icbc.com.