10 Tips for Improving Child Pedestrian Safety
At the beginning of most our lives, we share two fundamental desires: learning and movement. In fact, most babies take their first steps when they are less than a year, and are walking well by the time they are 14 or 15 months. Before you know it, kids are not just walking but running, jumping, skipping and you name it – any other physical gymnastics that most of us adults find exhausting just to look at!
As kids seem almost tireless at times, they can actually be quite vulnerable – particularly when they are outside near streets and traffic. Yes, they are full of energy, but they also sometimes lack judgment when it comes to walking or riding their bicycling safely.
That’s why through the Walk This Way program, FedEx and Safe Kids are promoting International Walk to School Day, which takes place Wednesday, October 9. The program teaches children to learn safe walking skills. FedEx volunteers will be on hand at some of the Safe Kids events taking place in schools around the country to speak to children about pedestrian safety tips, lead a “walking school bus” of pedestrian students to school and pass out reflective items that help increase visibility of young walkers. At some of the events, volunteers will use FedEx trucks to simulate real street environments, showing students the importance of driver visibility and pedestrian awareness.
However, at FedEx, we also know that teaching children is just one part of helping to keep kids safe. Safe driving is critical to keeping our communities –and our children – safe, and FedEx is proud to be a champion for safe driving for 40 years. In fact, with a fleet of more than 90,000 delivery trucks and vehicles, we know that all of us have a role to play – whether you own a car, bike or just a good pair of shoes.
Here are 10 steps to help improve child pedestrian safety, whether you’re walking or driving:
1. Sidewalks and Crosswalks: Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far away from vehicles as possible.
2. Be Visible: If you’re walking, wear light colors, retro-reflective material, and/or a flashlight to make sure drivers can see you.
3. Lead by Example: When you’re walking on the sidewalk, in parking lots or in the street with children, put your mobile devices away. It will improve your concentration and set a good example for children.
4. Pedestrians Put Devices Down: It’s never too early to teach kids the right way to cross the street: have them put down their devices and then look left, right, and left again when crossing the street.
5. Accompany the Young Ones: Always accompany children under 10 when they cross the street. Judging speed and distance is more difficult for children under age 10.
6. Eye Contact: Make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars that are turning or backing out of parking spaces or driveways-and remind kids to do the same.
7. Drivers Put Devices Down: Put devices down when you are driving. If we put our devices away, our kids are more likely to do the same.
8. Aware at Night: Be especially aware during the night or bad weather when it’s more difficult to see. Drivers especially must keep a lookout and slow down if visibility is low.
9. Crosswalk Caution: Always approach crosswalks slowly and be prepared to stop.
10. Watch for Pedestrians When Turning: When making turns, wait until there’s a gap in foot traffic, and allow people to cross safely.
You see, the truth is while we may start our lives full of learning and movement, many of us adults slow down the older we get (that’s a perfectly acceptable part of aging!). However, while we may be driving more and walking less, we should never stop learning how to keep ourselves – and the children in our communities – safe.