Small children in Virginia between 1 and 4 years old are always at risk of car accident injuries while they are walking outside or on our state’s roadways. However, there are some vital precautions parents can take and some important things to teach these young children that will support them in avoiding many of the dangers of getting injured in a pedestrian versus car crash.
Parents, as a rule, should never let such a young child cross the street on his or her own under any circumstances. Research shows that it is not safe to let children cross the street by themselves until they reach the age of 10, due to developmental timing and other issues. Young children simply are not very good at judging the speed and distance of an automobile appropriately. For this reason, it is best to always accompany young children while they cross the roadway — even small and relatively tranquil roadways — and this will allow them to get accustomed to this policy.
Parents will also want to teach their children to look both ways before crossing the street. Although this seems obvious, young children need to get into the habit of this learned behavior. The best way to teach a child is to tell them to look three times before crossing the road — first look left, next look right and then check left one more time. Teach your child to stay on sidewalks and pathways when he or she is walking as well, in addition to trying to make eye contact with motorists.
These and other tips are best to start when a child is particularly young, and it will give them the chance to develop safe habits as future Virginia pedestrians. It will also help them avoid the threat of being injured by an out of control or negligent driver.
Source: New York State Department of Health, “Pedestrian Safety, Children Ages One to Four Years,” accessed June 19, 2015