Guest Author - Susan Kramer
All of us need to practice street safety. It is never too early to learn how to navigate in a safe and efficient way. Whether going places or staying in the front yard, there are safety issues to consider when playing alongside the street. Take into consideration the ability of your child to understand when teaching street safety rules. Here are a few of my practices:
1. Don't chase a ball into the street. Playing ball in the front yard is one of the most dangerous activities I can think of. A child could be concentrating so much on running after the ball that they forget there may be cars coming down the street, headed for the same spot as their ball. And, of course, that is a disaster. So, I recommend in the interests of street safety that playing catch or kickball or any other ball game be restricted to the backyard, or a school playground that is enclosed with mesh fencing to hold balls and kids in.
2. When walking on the sidewalk with your young child hold her hand, and let her walk on the side away from traffic. If you have a toddler that insists on walking independently or scurries away uncontrollably, (perhaps a child with ADHD), I recommend using a safety harness that fits like a vest and leaves hands free. The harness I used had the line attached to the center of the back so the child had a measure of freedom, but I didn't have to worry about her running into the street.
3. When you are out on the sidewalk with your child take time to follow street safety rules yourself. Kids copy behavior they see before copying an abstract rule. If you don't want your kids to jay walk then only cross at the corners and crosswalks. And when you do go that extra distance to cross at the corner explain to your child that cars are not looking out for people crossing except at corners.
These street safety and sidewalk navigation tips are important for kids of all abilities to master if they are going to be out on the sidewalk independently now and in the future.
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Article by Susan Kramer