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Injury Prevention

Walking Should Be Safe

Walking is a fun and easy way for children to be active. Crossing streets, walking or playing on the road can bring children into the path of cars and trucks. Your child’s age, neighbourhood and traffic all make a difference to your child’s safety on roads.

Plan Ahead. Children grow fast. Make sure you’re ready for the next stage.

Where does your child need to walk? Know your neighbourhood:

  • How busy is your neighbourhood?
  • Are there sidewalks to walk along?
  • Are the intersections busy?
  • Are there traffic lights at crossings?
  • Do drivers keep to the speed limit and watch out for children?
  • Should an adult walk with your child?

Learn about programs to help your child walk safely to school, such as the Walking School Bus.

What’s the rush? Does your child have the judgment and skill needed to play or walk on the road alone?

Most children aren’t ready to walk or bike on their own until they are at least 9 years old. Some children aren’t ready until they are even older. Young children have a greater chance of getting hit by a car because they:

  • Cannot judge how far away cars are from them or how fast cars are going.
  • Do not understand that they can be hurt or killed.
  • Can be easily distracted by many different things.
  • Do not see out of the corner of their eyes as well as adults, because their vision is not fully developed yet.
  • Are small and hard for drivers to see.
  • Have trouble seeing around objects.
  • Have trouble telling the direction of various sounds, such as a moving car.

Learn How. Make sure your child learns how to do it right. Learn what to do if someone is hurt.

It is never too early to teach your child the rules of the road. Walk around the neighbourhood with your child and teach her to:

  • Stop at street curbs, alleys, driveways and pedestrian crossings. They need to make sure the street is clear before crossing by looking left, right and left again; by listening for traffic; and by making eye contact with the driver to make sure the driver sees them.
  • Use the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, show your child how to walk facing the on coming traffic, as far as possible away from the traffic on the road.
  • Read, understand and obey the road signs.
  • Choose the best place to cross the street.
  • Obey the crossing guard.
  • Use the designated crossing to cross train tracks and never to play near them.

References

Parachute Canada: Pedestrian Safety (visit this website for more information) 

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