If the thought of allowing your child to cross the road on their own leaves you in a cold sweat, we understand. With the amount of traffic on the roads nowadays, getting from one side to the other can seem like a veritable obstacle course requiring death-defying, Bruce-lee-type stunts simply to avoid potential hazards.
Okay, maybe it's not as bad as all that, but for parents with young children, teaching them to cross the road can be the stuff of nightmares! We'll let you in on a secret; worries like this don't go away; even when they turn 40, you'll worry for their safety. Why? Because that's what it means to be a parent, but we don't need to tell you that.
As a parent or caregiver, one of the most important responsibilities you have (besides purchasing the best pair of kids' shoes!) is keeping your child safe. This includes teaching them about road safety, an essential life skill. Many parents worry their child is too young to start learning to cross the road, but in reality, it's never too early.
By teaching your child road safety at a young age, you can help them develop good habits that could keep them safe should the unthinkable happen and you are not around to help. Today's Piper Finn blog provides simple parent tips for teaching your kid about road safety; let's dash right in!
6 Road Safety Parent Tips
Start with the Basics
Before your child can cross the road safely, they need to know the basics. This includes understanding the meaning of traffic lights, stop signs, and other road signs. Teach your child to always stop before crossing the road and to look both ways before walking across. Reinforce these habits by explaining their importance and pointing them out as you cross the road together.
Find a Safe Spot
Choosing a safe spot is important when teaching your child to cross the road. Look for a crosswalk or pedestrian bridge, and ensure your child understands why using these areas is safer. Help them practice crossing at this safe spot until they feel confident.
Until your child is old enough to cross the road alone, holding their hand when you cross together is important. This helps keep them safe and reinforces good habits, such as staying on the sidewalk and looking both ways before crossing. It also prevents excited little tikes from dashing across the road unaccompanied directly into danger! If your child won't hold your hand, using toddler reins is an excellent idea!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Like with any new skill, practice makes perfect. Take your child for walks around your neighborhood and practice crossing the road together. Encourage them to find safe places to cross independently when they're ready.
Teach Them to Be Aware
As your child becomes more independent, it's important to teach them always to be aware of their surroundings and potential dangers. Help them understand the dangers of distracted walking, such as using their cell phone or tablet while crossing the road. Encourage them to listen for cars and look for other potential hazards when you are crossing the road together. This is good practice for when they eventually go out on their own.
Invest in Great Kids Shoes
Crossing the road is fraught with many dangers but none so dangerous as that of the untied shoelace (trip hazard) or uncomfortable shoe. Let's be honest; it's unlikely your child will pay attention to your road-crossing lessons if their shoes are pinching sensitive little toes! Take a look at the Piper Finn Collection of girls and boy shoes; our range includes toddler shoes and shoes for babies meaning you can get a 'foot' in the proverbial road safety door from an early age!
Sadly, thousands of children are involved in road accidents in America every year. Teaching your child road safety at a young age can help reduce their risk of being involved in dangerous situations. Always supervise your child until they're old enough to cross the road independently, and reinforce good road safety habits as they grow. With your guidance and support, your child can become a confident and safe pedestrian. Happy road traversing, everyone!