Safety while walking with kids

The summer months are upon us and that means youth and adults will be out and about walking. It is important to understand the rules regarding pedestrian travel on the road and how to keep your kids safe this summer.

According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injuries are the second leading cause of death in the United States for children ages one to 19 years old. Most deaths of children aged five to 19 years old are due to traffic injuries, as occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.

Some tips Michigan State University Extension suggests going over with your children are:

  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths and cross corners using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Teach kids to look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • When using cell phones, they should stop walking and find a safe area to talk.
  • If kids have to walk on the road, make sure they walk on the side of the road as far to the left as possible or on a paved shoulder against oncoming traffic where there are no sidewalks.
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up;
  • If walking at night, increase visibility by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing light-colored or reflective clothing that highlights body movements.

These tips along with other information about pedestrian and bicycle safety can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State website and Safe Kids Worldwide.

Walking can be a fun and great way to be physically active in the summer. Let’s help keep our kids safe by making sure they understand how to stay safe and to protect themselves from injury. 

To start a 4-H club around walking or to learn more, visit your county MSU Extension office.

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