In today’s world, it’s crucial for parents to equip their children with the knowledge and skills to navigate the streets safely.

Full body back view of Asian anonymous mother with bag and little girl holding hands while walking on crosswalk on street

Whether it’s walking to school, playing in the neighborhood, or simply being out and about, instilling street smarts early on can help ensure your child can handle the streets safely and confidently. Here are some essential tips to teach your children:

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Look Both Ways Before Crossing

One of the most fundamental rules of pedestrian safety is to look both ways before crossing the street. Teach your children to stop at the edge of the sidewalk, look left, right, and left again, and only proceed when it’s safe to do so. Encourage them to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they are seen, but not to assume that the driver will stop. 

Use Crosswalks and Pedestrian Signals

Emphasize the importance of using crosswalks and pedestrian signals when crossing the street. Explain to your children that these designated areas are safer because they are designed specifically for pedestrians. Remind them to wait for the signal to indicate that it’s their turn to cross. Even when crossing at designated cross walks, they should be trained to look both ways before continuing. 

Stay Visible

Encourage your children to wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking or biking in low-light conditions. Remind them to always walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks available and to avoid darting out from between parked cars.

Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions

Teach your children to stay alert and aware of their surroundings while walking. Discourage them from distractions such as smartphones or headphones that can distract them from potential hazards. Remind them to keep their eyes and ears open at all times.

What to Do in an Emergency

Memorize Important Contact Information

Ensure that your child knows their full name, address, and phone number, as well as important emergency contact numbers such as 911. Consider creating a laminated card with this information that your child can keep in their backpack or wallet.

Contact a Trusted Adult or Emergency Services

Teach your child to seek help from a trusted adult if they ever find themselves in an emergency situation. Aside from parents, this can be a neighbor, teacher, coach, or any other responsible adult they feel comfortable approaching. If they are unable to find a trusted adult, instruct them to call emergency services immediately by dialing 911. According to the Fresno pedestrian accident lawyer at R&S, having your child collect contact information at the scene can be very helpful as well. 

Practice Role-Playing Scenarios

Role-playing various emergency situations can help prepare your child to react calmly and appropriately if they ever find themselves in trouble. Practice scenarios such as getting lost, encountering a stranger, or witnessing an accident, and discuss the appropriate actions to take in each situation.

Identify Safe Places

Teach your child to identify safe places in their neighborhood where they can seek help if needed, such as trusted neighbors’ houses, police stations, fire stations, or businesses with friendly staff. Encourage them to memorize the locations of these places and how to get there from different routes.

Trust Their Instincts

Above all, teach your child to trust their instincts and speak up if something doesn’t feel right. Encourage them to listen to their inner voice and seek help from a trusted adult or emergency services if they ever feel scared, uncomfortable, or threatened.

Additional Tips

Buddy System

Encourage your child to walk or bike with a buddy whenever possible, as there is safety in numbers. Remind them to stick together and look out for each other while out and about.

Set Clear Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries for where your child is allowed to go and explore in their neighborhood. Discuss specific routes they should take and areas they should avoid, especially if they are younger or unfamiliar with the area.

Practice Situational Awareness

Encourage your child to practice situational awareness by paying attention to their surroundings and being mindful of potential dangers. Teach them to trust their instincts and recognize warning signs such as suspicious behavior or unfamiliar vehicles.

Stay Calm in Emergencies

Finally, teach your child the importance of staying calm and composed in emergency situations. Remind them that panicking can make matters worse and that staying focused and level-headed can help them make better decisions.

By teaching your children these essential street smarts, you can empower them to stay safe and confident while navigating the world outside. Remember to reinforce these lessons regularly and lead by example by practicing safe habits yourself. With the right knowledge and preparation, your children can enjoy the freedom of exploring their surroundings while staying safe and secure.

, Essential Street Smarts to Teach Your Children, Days of a Domestic Dad