Adults are well-aware of all the risks associated with crossing the street, and it has become second nature for us to do it safely, with or without crosswalk lights to assist. However, those with children must realize that this knowledge is not intuitive—kids do not automatically know how to safely use crosswalks. While you can hold your child’s hand when you are with them and serve as their safety monitor, they will eventually need to cross the street alone, and so need to be taught how.
It can be challenging to convey the importance of something like this to children, who still only understand danger as an abstract. However, with just a few tips and tricks, you can clearly and safely teach your child how to cross the street in a way they will understand and internalize.
How to talk to your child about crossing the street
There is a thin line between making a child understand why something is important for their well-being and making them unreasonably afraid. While you should absolutely set time aside to discuss road safety with them, you want to make sure the learning experience is a positive one.
For example, rather than scolding your child if they do something wrong, tell them what they could have done instead and why the difference matters. Make sure you stay calm even if they don’t take you seriously at first or make mistakes. Be honest with them about the dangers, but ensure your child feels confident they can reduce risk by obeying your rules.
You can even turn it into a game, where you go to nearby crosswalks and practice together. Even at home or in your backyard, you can set up a pretend crosswalk and demonstrate safe and careless behaviors, perhaps letting your child pretend to be a cop who scolds you when you cross improperly. Making real-world safety fun to learn can help your child remember the importance of practicing crosswalk safety without making them overly afraid of the risks.
Crosswalk tips for children
The good news is that crossing the street has remained largely the same since the invention of cars, so the tips you give your children are consistent with what you were taught:
- Wait patiently for the signal (if present) to indicate it is safe before crossing. In California, the most common indicators are the walking person symbol to cross and the upraised hand in red to stop. In between, the word “wait” or the upraised red hand might flash, with or without a countdown timer
- Always look both ways for oncoming traffic even if a signal is indicating it is safe to cross. Unfortunately, drivers sometimes run red lights, so obeying the signal alone is not enough to ensure safety
- Walk steadily when crossing and don’t stop until you step fully onto the curb across the street
- Do not cross between parked cars or where there is no official crosswalk. If your child cannot find an alternative way to cross the street, they should find an adult for assistance
Contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney today
Reckless drivers can show up anywhere at any time, including near crosswalks. Even if you and your child do everything right, an accident could still happen. No matter the situation, if your child is injured while crossing the street, hold the negligent party accountable by calling Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact from to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.