By Andrea Flagg, Nanny
School is open and there are three schools all within three blocks of my home. Over the years there have been child pedestrian accidents in my town.
There were two horrible accidents in which children were hit by cars in my town. In one accident, a six-year old boy was walking along the busy main street with his mother when he spotted his friends on the other side of the street. He unexpectedly darted into traffic trying to reach his friends across the street. Sadly, he did not make it to the other side.
The other incident involved a nine-year old child that was walking along the street near the curb. A car struck him. Luckily, he suffered only minor injuries.
The following safety tips can be found at AAA of North Jersey and www.safekids.org.
- Very few children under the age of 10 can manage safely crossing the street.
- Children cannot judge speed, distance, or direction well and are easily distracted.
- Young children think if they can see a car, that a car can see them. Children are shorter and smaller than adults and given the fact that there are so many SUV’S on the road today, many cars have a huge area in their blind spots.
- Most children are struck by cars while in streets or driveways near their homes, when they run out between parked cars, walk along the edge of the road, cross the street in the middle of the block (not using a cross walk), or in front of a turning vehicle.
- Behave properly when crossing the street in order to be a good role model.
- Always use cross walks.
- Always follow traffic rules (never cross against a red light).
- Always hold the child’s hand while in parking lots, on sidewalks of busy streets, and especially when crossing any street.
- Walking around your vehicle before getting in, to be certain no children are near before driving away. (SUV’s tend the have huge blind spots when backing up. To help improve your view, install stick-on convex mirrors, which will help maximize your side views).
- Leaving extra time when traveling so that you are not tempted to speed or drive unsafely.
- Eliminating distractions in your car, (as nanny I personally know how wild it can be at times with children on board, so children need to be taught proper behavior as passengers so you can focus on driving).
- Never using a hand held cell phone while driving –- it is the law.
- Using only one earpiece with a portable music player, when walking or biking so that you can hear oncoming traffic.
- Not to cross the street alone if they are younger than 10-years old.
- Stop at the curb before crossing, and when it is safe walk across the street; do not run.
- Cross only at corners, using traffic signals and cross walks or go to a corner where a crossing guard is on duty.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing. Keep looking for moving vehicles even while crossing the street since traffic can appear out of nowhere.
- Walk facing traffic.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them to help insure that they are aware of your presence.
- Do not allow children play in driveways, streets, parking lots, or between cars.
- Have identification with you and always wear reflective clothing at night.
With so many vehicles on the roads we need to prepare ourselves and the children, by teaching them to follow these guidelines, surely we will aid in avoiding pedestrian accidents.