Walking to school is a good way to get some physical activity before and after school. Of course, if your children are going to walk to school, you want them to be safe while doing so. Here are a few tips for how to walk safely to school.
Are they ready?
Determine whether your child is old enough, and responsible, enough to walk to school. If they’re walking with a younger sibling, will they be able to look after their less mature little brother or sister? Maybe you feel comfortable meeting your children halfway, or maybe your child should wait another year before walking to school.
Safety in numbers
Will children walk in a large group with other children, or by themselves? Children are safer in groups or with friends than walking home on their own.
Pick the best route
Sometimes the most direct route isn’t the best way to walk to school. The best route is the safest route. Make sure there are sidewalks and crosswalks. Avoid roads with excessive traffic when possible, and make sure there are no dangers areas along the way. Ask at the school if you’re not sure.
Practice with your kids
If your children aren’t used to walking to school, you should practice with them until they are comfortable with it. Take the opportunity to teach them about traffic safety and instruct them on how to be safe, responsible pedestrians.
Teach your children about traffic safety
Watch for cars backing up, and look for drivers in parked cars.
Always look both directions, and wait until it’s safe, when crossing street.
Walk quickly, but don’t run, when crossing the street
Cross only at designated cross walks, or corners when it’s clear and safe to do so.
Wait for cars to come to a stop before walking into the street.
Make eye contact with drivers.
Stay on sidewalks.
Never run or play rough when walking next to roads.
Make sure that shoes tied and items contained. Loose clothing or untied laces could cause children to trip, and items that fall out of backpacks or pockets can land in the street.
Children shouldn’t play on phones, tablets, or other devices that can be distracting when walking home. Also avoid headphones that completely cover the ears and music turned up too loud as this can make it difficult to hear traffic and can be dangerous.
Wear brightly colored clothing, backpacks, or shoes. Consider clothing or accessories with reflective accents when walking in low light conditions. You want your children to be highly visible to drivers.
Stick to the plan
Teach children not to get in vehicles or take rides unless instructed to do so by their parents.