Traffic Safety for K-3

Teaching Children in Kindergarten to Grade 3 About Traffic Safety 

Children in kindergarten through third grade are learning to become independent. They enjoy walking, riding bikes, and playing outside. They don't have the judgment to cope with traffic by themselves yet, but they can begin to understand safety rules.   
Below are some important facts to consider: 

  • Parents often think their children are able to handle traffic safely by themselves before they actually are ready. 
  • Children don't have the skills to handle these risky situations until at least age 10. 
  • Boys are much more likely than  girls to be injured or killed in traffic. 
  • Bicycles are vehicles. Children should not ride bikes in the road until they fully understand traffic rules and show they can follow them.

Knowing the risks   

Nearly one-third of the five to nine-year-old children killed by motor vehicles are on foot. They are hit by cars most often when playing near their homes. They tend to run into the street in the middle of the block, where drivers don’t expect them.   

  • They assume that if they see the driver, the driver sees them. 
  • They can't judge speed and they think cars can stop instantly. 
  • They are shorter than adults and can't see over cars, bushes, and other objects.

Safety tips 

  • Set limits for your child: As your children grow, set appropriate limits on where they can walk or bike safely. Don't expect them to be responsible or to start to behave safely until age 10. 
  • Find safe places for riding and walking: Find places away from streets, driveways, and parking lots. Good choices are fenced yards, parks, or playgrounds. 
  • Teach safe walking habits: Begin to teach your child about how to cross streets safely. Give them plenty of chances to practice when you are with them. 
  • Set an example: Young children learn by watching their parents and other adults. Cross streets properly and always wear a helmet when you ride a bike. When you are driving, obey speed limits and watch for children.

Rules for safe street crossing   

  • Cross the street with an adult or older friend. (Young children still need supervision around traffic up to at least age 10.) 
  • Cross at intersections with traffic signals, when possible. 
  • Use the crosswalk when crossing near a corner. Watch for turning vehicles. 
  • Stop at the curb. Look left, right, left, and over your shoulder for traffic. Continue to look as you cross. 
  • Stop to look around parked cars or other objects that block the view of traffic. Let oncoming traffic pass, then look again before crossing. 
  • Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.

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