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How Can I Keep My Child
Safe As A Pedestrian?

A: The best way is to teach your child pedestrian safety rules and to ensure that you yourself provide a model of safe behavior.

Young children do not typically possess great judgment about the streets and traffic. Developmentally speaking, there are reasons for this: young children are not necessarily ready to make certain choices on their own, and can be highly impulsive. Young children also lack fully developed peripheral vision, the ability to determine accurately the source of various sounds, a certain degree of physical coordination, and an ability to react in their own best interests when frightened.

It is important, therefore, that you review the pedestrian safety rules with your child frequently, and that you convey a consistent message about obeying these rules to your child.

Some of the things that you may wish to tell your children are:

  • To stop before crossing the street
  • To think about what he or she is doing, look around for cars, and listen for car sounds
  • To cross only at intersections or pedestrian crosswalks
  • To look for crossing lights and signs, understand what they mean, and obey them
  • To make sure that all the cars have stopped before crossing, even if the light is green or if at a crosswalk
  • To watch out for any cars backing out of driveways, or laneways
  • To use sidewalks and paths, not the street - and if none are available, to take a different street

In terms of modeling safe behavior, make sure that you yourself are following the rules that you are asking your child to follow. Young children are more motivated to learn when they know that the rules they are learning apply to everybody:

  • Don't cross in the middle of the street with your child
  • Try a gradual approach, from the time your child is a toddler and on, teaching them about safety as they show increased signs of awareness and receptivity
  • Do not allow a child under nine to cross alone - cross with him and use the experience as an opportunity to teach about safe crossing, using age-appropriate language
  • Ask your child to show you that he understands your behavior and is able to put it into practice in order to cross the street in a safe manner

In the unfortunate event that your child is involved in an accident crossing the street, it is important that you contact a qualified Bellevue pedestrian accident lawyer who will understand the merits of your case, and guide you in the event that you decide to seek recourse under the law.