Disabilities can be visible or not; they can impair mobility, sight, hearing or other things, but most children, regardless of their disability can benefit from learning some basic street safety rules. If your child has special needs, is very important that you model the street safe behaviors that you want them to follow. Street safety and sidewalk navigation tips are important for all kids to master. Teaching children with disabilities to be safe in the streets and sidewalks is a great way to support them now to become independent and self-sufficient adutls in the future.
Here are some tips that will help all kids to be street safe:
1. Don’t chase a ball into the street. Playing ball in the front yard is one of the most dangerous activities I can think of. A child could be so focused on running after a ball that she might forget that cars may be coming down the street, headed in the same direction as they are. In the interests of street safety, playing soccer, catch, kickball or any other ball game should be restricted to an enclosed area with mesh fencing to hold balls and kids in.
2. Teach your child street safety. Hold your young child’s hand as you walk with her in the sidewalk, and let her walk on the side away from traffic. If you have a toddler that insists on walking independently or who likes to run away uncontrollably (perhaps a child with ADHD), you might consider using a safety harness that fits like a vest and leaves hands free. Some parents use harnesses that have a line attached to the center of the back so the child has a measure of freedom, but it keeps her from running into the street.
3. Take time to follow street safety rules yourself. Children copy the behavior they see. If you don’t want your child to jay walk in the middle of a street, then only cross at the corners and crosswalks. As you go that extra distance to cross at the corner explain to your child that cars are not looking out for people crossing in the middle of the street, only at corners. Take time to look both ways before you cross and ask your child to do the same. Also show your child what a pedestrian crossing looks like and how to operate the buttons for pedestrian signals.
4. Always keep in mind your child’s learning ability. Explain street safety rules in a way your child can understand and take every opportunity you have to repeat and reinforce the lessons.
5. Make it fun. Plan a tour around your block with you children so they can practice street safety with you.
- Traffic Safety for Children with Special Needs- Interactive Resource Blog: http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2012/07/25/traffic-safety-for-children-with-special-needs/
- Basic Children Street Safety When Walking: http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Children-Basic-Street-Safety-when Walkinghttp://www.cdc.gov/SafeChild/Road_Traffic_Injuries/
- Basic Tips to Keep Children Safe Outdoors: http://www.extension.org/pages/25386/basic-tips-to-keep-children-in-child-care-safe-outdoors#.VAZHN_lSgrg
- Pedestrian Safety for Children 1 to 4 years old: http://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/injury_prevention/children/fact_sheets/young_children_1-4_years/pedestrian_safety_children_1-4_years.htm
Posted: September 8th, 2014 under SDOT.