Studies show that kids who walk to school are more alert and have lower stress levels. Plus, the daily trip can foster a sense of independence. To ensure their commute is safe, follow these expert-approved tips.
Pair younger kids with an older sibling, classmate or neighbour. There’s safety in numbers, as a pair or group of children is more visible to drivers.
Do a practice run—or several
Before sending them off on their own, walk the route together. When you accompany them, point out where crosswalks are located, show them how to properly check for oncoming traffic, and teach them the importance of obeying all traffic signs and signals. It’s also a good time to discourage them from taking potentially dangerous shortcuts.
Stash the phone
Mobile devices can be a dangerous distraction. Stow your child’s phone in their backpack and encourage them to leave it there unless there’s an emergency. They should also avoid listening to music through headphones, as it can prevent them from paying attention to their surroundings and hearing warnings, like a car horn.
If your children are cycling, make sure they have a properly fitted helmet and that their bike is equipped with a bell, as well as a white light mounted on the front and a red light and reflector on the back. It’s also a good idea to inspect your child’s bike to ensure their ride is in tip-top shape.
Reinforce the rules
Teach kids the rules of the road, especially how to signal a turn, what signs mean and who has the right-of-way at intersections. Also, tell them to avoid venturing into an intersection unless all vehicles are stopped.
Remind them to wear proper attire when riding their bikes. This means closed-toe shoes for proper grip, and no loose clothing, like pant legs or untied shoelaces, that might get caught up in the chain.
More safe school commuting tips
For more school safety tips, visit CAA’s School Safety Patrol program at caaschoolsafetypatrol.com.