Have you ever found yourself walking around only to look up at just the right moment before you slam into a wall or another person? Who knew walking could be so dangerous? According to SafeKids.org, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury related death in the United States for children ages 5-19. Safe Kids points out that teenagers have the greatest risk. The death rate for teenagers is twice as high when compared to other younger children. In a culture where just about everyone is distracted by a cell phone or other device it is time to remind everyone, regardless of age: Stop. Keep your head up. Look both ways.
The following are pedestrian safety tips are from Safe Kids.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Teach kids at an early age to put down their devices and then look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
- Teach kids to look up and pay extra attention when using headphones, cell phones or electronic devices such as a tablet or game. Make it a rule to put these devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce the message with your teenagers.
- If your kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area to talk. For headphones, pull them down or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
- Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.
- Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. It is always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.
Additional Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers
- When driving be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones and be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
- Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to help spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.
- When driving put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of site until your final destination.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone who is in danger.
These pedestrian safety tips are important reminders to all of us. It matters not whether we are just taking off on our very first steps or if we are veterans at pounding the asphalt beneath our feet. We have an obligation to ourselves, our family and to those around us. Take the few extra moments to stop, keep your head up and look both ways.