Teaching Children to Cross the Street

October 24, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

As children the majority of us learned to cross the street safely with our parents when we walked to the store and to school. It’s now most common to see children being driven to school out of mistaken fears for their safety, or on a school bus. The natural learning process has been removed and many kids lack the skill required to cross streets in a safe way.

A Guelph researcher is considering ways to encourage children to cross the street safely, and to teach them of the dangers of not paying attention. According to Canada Research Chair, Dr. Barbara Morrongiello of the University of Guelph, kids make assumptions about the situation and those assumptions can lead to tragic outcomes.  Dr. Morrongiello says that crossing the street is a task that requires a great deal of cognitive activity processing the changing information. Children are more focussed on how far away a car is rather than the speed at which it is moving. They make their decision to cross based on distance rather than speed, and they tend not to hurry across the street nor to keep watching the traffic while crossing.

Parents should make concerted efforts to teach their children from a young age onward on crossing the street the safely. They should do it by modelling it regularly on walks in their neighbourhood, and as the children get older by walks to and from school. According to Safekids.org pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury related death in children 5-19.

Teach your children to:

  1. Only cross at cross walks, street corners or traffic lights.
  2. Look to the left, right, and left again. Keep looking left and right until you finish crossing.
  3. Never assume that a car sees you, or that it will stop for you.
  4. If there is a car coming, then wait for it to pass. If you are at traffic lights only cross when the green light tells you to, and make sure you keep checking for traffic.
  5. Put phones and devices down when crossing the street. Take out headphones.
  6. If there are cars make sure you make eye contact with the driver and that they see you.
  7.  Always walk on the sidewalk.

According to the Toronto Star, experts say most kids are ready to walk alone to school at the age of 9, which varies with the child's ability and temperament. It's important to remember that the risk of child abduction or violence is much lower than most parents perceive, and that it is good for children to have some level of responsibility and autonomy.


Posted under Car Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents

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