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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Driving: Watch our for Children!

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We need to teach our kids to be safe in and around the roads. But as drivers we really need to watch out. Everyone has had a child run out from time to time, but by being alert and not speeding through residential areas, we save each case from being a tragedy.

Chrissy Cianflone, spokeswoman for Safe Kids USA in Washington, D.C. reports that 600 children die in pedestrian accidents annually and in addition 38,500 children are injured, suffering everything from bumps and bruises to traumatic brain injuries.

City of Madison Department of Transportation Traffic Engineering Division gives us this great list:
  1. 1. Give your child only as much independence and responsibility as s/he can handle safely. Throughout childhood, children slowly develop the cognitive, perceptual and sensory skills necessary to be safe in traffic.
  2. 2. Remember that each child is unique. Do not base rules for one child on those for siblings, cousins or neighbors. Children of the same age may require different levels of supervision in traffic.
  3. 3. Evaluate your child's behavior out of traffic. Is s/he impulsive? Does s/he stop to think before acting? Destructible? Can s/he sustain attention on something important? Is s/he a risk-taker? It is likely that your child's behavior in traffic will resemble behavior out of traffic.
  4. 4. Consider any limitations your child has and how these might influence his or her behavior in traffic. For example, does your child have vision problems? Hearing impairment? Cognitive or judgment limitations? Physical handicaps?
  5. 5. Give your child practice in traffic. Frequent supervised experiences can help children develop good traffic safety habits.
  6. 6. Teach your child the rules of walking and bicycling safety as you encounter traffic situations. Ask your children to repeat rules back to you.
  7. 7. Do not assume your child will follow the rules just because s/he can verbalize them. Let your child lead you in traffic to help you assess how well s/he follows the rules. Set up situations with your child in which you shadow him/her (walk 10-15 feet behind) to allow semi-independence.
  8. 8. Grant independence in small steps to see how your child handles it. For example, let your child progress from playing in front of the house to playing on the block, to walking around the block, to crossing one street, etc.
  9. 9. Always model appropriate traffic safety practices yourself, whether you are walking, bicycling or driving! Children learn from important people around them.
  10. 10. Be a careful driver, watch for children who may not yet have developed good traffic safety habits. Their safety is in your hands.

Be careful out there and SLOW DOWN.