Being a kid right now is not the same as it was 10 years ago or more. Kids are inundated with so many distractions and it’s hard for them to know what to focus on. If we’re being honest, the same goes for adults most of the time too. Being able to focus as a driver or a pedestrian is crucial to safety. Because we’ve seen an uptick in pedestrian crashes, we think it’s a good time to talk about three ways to focus while walking or biking.
The first thing we suggest is putting away distractions. Things like electronics should be put away when walking or biking so that your child is able to focus on their surroundings. Talk to them about being aware of cars, other pedestrians and what is coming up ahead of them. They also need to be able to hear what’s going on around them. So headphones shouldn’t be worn while walking or biking. A great way to teach this is by making it a game. Click here to find simple games to play with your kids to teach them how to be aware as a pedestrian.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact might seem simple enough, but this rule is for drivers and pedestrians alike. We would argue that simply making eye contact is THE best way to ensure that you are seen. If you are walking or biking with your head up, you are more likely to make eye contact with drivers. It’s especially important to make eye contact when crossing the street. We teach kids to make eye contact with crossing guards that are helping you as well as drivers.
Be In Safe Areas
Sidewalks and designated pedestrian crossings are the best places to stay safe as a pedestrian. Drivers expect pedestrians to be in specific areas. When pedestrians are outside of those areas, the likelihood of a pedestrian crash increases. Teach your child to always stay on sidewalks or the shoulder of the road when one is not available. Include how critical it is to always use a designated crosswalk.
Being able to walk and bike is crucial to a child’s playtime and development. Helping them learn safe habits early will help keep them safe now and when they’re older. Get more information on safe walking and biking tips here.