Walking is a safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly way for your children to get to school. It may be difficult for a parent to let their child walk to school on their own, but with a few rules and a lot of common sense, walking to school can be very safe.
Do a few dry runs with your child or children before they start walking to school. Walk with them on the exact path they will be taking to and from school each day. Make sure they know what all the signs and signals mean that they will encounter on a regular basis. Be sure to tell them not to get sidetracked – go straight from home to school, and vice versa. Children walking to and from school should get to know the route very well and so should the parent.
Teach and reinforce the rules of the road to your children before they begin walking to school, (or to a friend’s house, or to a nearby store). Stress the importance of walking on the inside of the sidewalk, or where there are no sidewalks, walk facing the traffic and as far away from the road as possible. Remind children to always make sure that the driver sees them before starting to cross the street.
Children should walk with a buddy, and the more buddies the better. If someone trips and falls, potentially hurting him or herself, their buddy can always run for help.
With a child who is capable and mature enough, walking to school is generally very safe. But never hesitate to insist that your child walks with at least one other friend, follows a few ground rules and uses his or her common sense.
September to November tend to be the worst months of the year for young pedestrians getting hit be motor vehicles. The riskiest time of the day for pedestrians and cyclists to be on the road is in late afternoon, at night, and in dim light conditions when they are less visible to drivers.
Research shows that pedestrians and cyclists wearing retro-reflective materials are more likely to be seen and recognized by drivers. The best place to sport retro-reflective markings is on the arms and legs.
Now try our "Keeping Kids Safe on the Road: I’m doing my part, are you?” road safety quiz.