We do our morning walks very purposefully before the traffic. If we do reside at place where the traffic does not let up then we drive in our SUV’s to the thata-paati park and walk, yet we have abandonded this in our daily life. maybe it is a good idea to teach our kids to walk.
Yet walking is fun and and healthy way to spend time with your child, the child learns from us, so we become the child’s most important role model. Children learn from watching, so maybe as parents teaching our kids to walk we could look at these thingsdo the following things,
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
- Choose routes that provide space to walk and have the least amount of traffic and lowest speed.
- Look for traffic at all drive ways and intersections.
- If possible cross at a pedestrian crossing or at an intersection with a walk signal.
- Stop at the curb and look for the traffic in all directions.
- At intersections watch out for the vehicles might turn.
- Walk across do not run.
- Talk to your child about what we are doing and why as we walk. This way the child learns to recognize the safe and unsafe.
- As drivers we respect the pedestrian and follow rules.
A child between 4-6yrs has limited judgement it, makes it hard for them to know when and where it is safe to cross. Niether are they in position of gauging the speed on oncoming traffic. They can be impulsive and tend to get distracted easily that means focusing on a single task like crossing the road would be tough on them. this age group would need an adult to walk them. safely should be a priority, that is learning what it means to be safe. they should always be with an adult while walking. The best way to ensure that kids learn is by repeating the safe walking rules, and by being a role model.
Between 7-10yrs, supervision would be required as they learn more complicated pedestrian safety skills, they begin identify safe crossing zones with help and practise. they also learn focusing so they cn identify traffic and stay focused while crossing the street and with help and practise. this is the right time to inculcate skills that make the children safe walkers through out their lives. The children are now capable of learning more complicated pedestrian safety tasks. Even though they are older, they always should be with an adult while walking near or around traffic. The best way to learn is by repeating safe pedestrian skills.
Children over 10, need specific instruction and modelling as they begin to learn more complicated pedestrian skills. they are now in position to identify safe crossing site, gauge traffic flow with help. They are also able to focus as they cross. Its a stage of finding the mix between independence and supervision. Despite being older, it is a good idea to have an adult around until they demonstrate safe pedestrian skills consistently. They best way for these kids to learn is by practising safe pedestrian sills with adults, and revisiting safety issues often also helps.
How can we help?
Children learn by observing so we need to be consistant and follow the rules.
- Walking our child to school following safety behaviours.
- Pick the safest routes for routes that will be repeated daily. Explain to the child to always follow this route.
- Making the child aware of the importance of stoping to look for the traffic in all directions before crossing.
- Maybe waiting at the curb and explaining the traffic signal is also an good idea.
- Ensuring that the child is focused as she/he crosses.
Choosing the safest route.
- The route should have fewest streets to cross
- Avoid busy or high speed streets
- Places with sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks then walk facing the direction of the vehicle.
- Be consistent in the route.