Pedestrian Safety for Kids

Our kids are going to be in and around the roadways. Whether they are walking to school, to a friend’s house, or to the library, you want to make sure they are safe. As adults, we have learned the basics of pedestrian safety, but the roadways are filled with distractions for children.

By teaching them these safety measures, they will be prepared for many of the hazards in and around the street.

Child crossing the street in Chicago

Pedestrian Safety Tips for Kids

Left, Right, and Left Again

Make sure your children know to stop on the curb and look both ways before crossing the street. This means looking left, right, then left again. Make sure your kids know to do this every time they cross the street. Make sure your kids know to use their senses to watch, wait, and listen for oncoming cars. Kids under 10 years of age should cross the street with an adult.

Follow all Traffic Signals

Explain the importance of following all traffic signals, signs, and crosswalks. Even when you are driving, you can explain to your kids the purpose of traffic lights and signs. When you are walking with them, explain what each sign means and how important they are.

Use the Sidewalks

If there are sidewalks, they must be used. If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing the traffic and as far to the left of the roadway as possible. Walk while wearing bright colors or reflectors when it is dark outside.

Watch the Cars

Teach kids to be attentive to all cars. Make sure they know not to dart out in front of a moving car regardless of how fast it is going. Teach your kids to make eye contact with and visibly wave at a driver before crossing in front of them.

Teach by Doing

Kids learn by watching and doing. This means that you should be the one walking with them when they are young and showing them exactly what to do. They will copy what they see. Put away the cell phone and other devices. Walk their regular routes with them at first. If you decide your kids can walk to a new location (maybe the store), walk the route with them beforehand so they know the safest way to get there and back.

Main Causes of Child Pedestrian Accidents

All of these safety tips are important. Avoiding pedestrian accidents is vitally important. However, the state Department of Transportation tells us that there were 4,940 total pedestrian crashes during the latest reporting year. Out of those, there were:

  • 148 fatal crashes
  • 4,663 injury crashes

Crowded areas like ours tend to have more pedestrian accidents than other areas of the state. In Chicago, there was a total of 2,712 pedestrian crashes during the latest reporting year.

Child Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrian accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries. Because children are lower to the ground, they have a higher risk of serious injury than adults. It is not uncommon for us to see these incidents lead to serious head and brain injuries in children, along with:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries

By teaching your kids how to behave in and around the roadways, you will be taking a step towards preventing these accidents and injuries from happening.