Special needs

Teaching street safety

After her own scare crossing the street, Amy worries about her daughter

By Amy Baskin
Teaching street safety The challenges of crossing the street. Photo: Jack Kesselman

On a recent walk with Jemma (our geriatric hounddog), I almost got hit by a car. Here’s what happened:
Standing on our suburban sidewalk,I pressed the button to change the light at the intersection. While waiting, I watched the traffic flow in front of me. The light changed to red. And a car drove right through it. Right through a red light. Scary.
Then the light turned green and the “walking person signal” appeared. After looking both ways, I stepped out to cross the road. Just then, a car turned into the crosswalk — almost hitting me. Very scary. If an adult struggles to cross a neighbourhood street, how can our kids be safe? For years, I’ve drilled road safety rules into Talia. But too often drivers don’t follow the rules.
Since my recent road scare, I’ve stepped up our street crossing coaching. At the corner, I say: “Press the button. Wait until you see the walking person signal in the cross walk. Before you cross, look at the drivers of the cars waiting to turn. Make EYE CONTACT with them — and make sure they SEE you. THEN you can cross.”
Yeah right — I’m supposed to teach a child who struggles with eye contact to peer into cars. But teaching kids to “look both ways before crossing the street” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
How can we protect our kids from reckless drivers? How do YOU teach your kids to cross the road safely?

This article was originally published on Nov 22, 2011

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