Pedestrian Safety

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Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness provides children and families with pedestrian safety information to prevent injuries and deaths. Whether you or your kids are walking to school, the park or a friend’s house, here are some simple tips to make sure everyone gets there safely.

Pedestrian Safety for Kids

  • Check before crossing: Before crossing the street always, STOP, look LEFT, look RIGHT, look LEFT again, and LISTEN.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk: If there are no sidewalks, walk on the grass, the side of the road or the curb/edge of the road. If you must walk on road, always walk on the LEFT side facing oncoming traffic. When you’re walking on the LEFT side of the road, you should always watch for the front of cars.
  • Always cross the street at crosswalks, stop signs or red lights: Crosswalks, stop signs and red lights usually are found at the end of the street or at a corner. Do NOT cross the street in between parked cars or in the middle of the street.
  • Pay attention to pedestrian traffic signals: Just because the traffic signal indicates that it’s safe to cross the street doesn’t mean that it is. Be sure to STOP, look LEFT, look RIGHT, look LEFT again and LISTEN before crossing the street.
  • Always walk when crossing the street: If you have to run to cross the street, that means it isn’t safe for you to cross. Wait until there are no cars coming and then safely cross the street.
  • Be safe, be seen: Whether it’s day or night, raining or sunshine, always make sure you are wearing bright-colored clothes. If you don’t have bright-colored clothing, wear clothes and shoes that have reflectors or reflective tape on them.
  • Do NOT walk on railroad tracks: You cannot always hear or feel a train coming.
  • Be aware of distracted walking: Pay extra attention when using headphones, cellphones or electronic devices, such as tablet computers or handheld games. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers. Make it a rule to put devices down when crossing the street. Tell kids to remove earbuds/headphones or turn off the volume before crossing the street. If you need to use your cellphone when walking, stop walking and then use your phone. Be aware of others who are distracted, and speak up when you see someone whose distraction may put them in danger.
  • Keep in mind: Children with certain diagnoses, such as autism, may be more likely to elope or wander. Work with your health care provider to create a safety plan to prevent your child from wandering off as best you can. 

Other Ways To Keep Your Child Safe Around Vehicles

Many preventable injuries and deaths occur in driveways or parking lots when drivers are unaware that children are near vehicles. Tragically, these drivers often are family members or friends of the injured child. An estimated 267 deaths occur annually because of a vehicle backing up into a person; of these deaths, 31% are children under age 5.

These injuries are easily prevented by following some simple tips:

  • Accompany little kids when they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hands while walking near moving vehicles, in driveways and parking lots, or on sidewalks.
  • Before you drive away, take a few seconds to walk all the way around your parked car to check for children.
  • When checking for kids around your vehicle, see if anything that could attract a child, such as a pet, bike or toy, is under or behind your vehicle before getting in and starting the engine.
  • Designate an adult to supervise and find a safe spot for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move. Make sure drivers can see them.
  • Work with your kids to pick up toys, bikes, chalk or any other items around the driveway so that they don’t entice kids to play.
  • Identify and use safe play areas for children, away from parked or moving vehicles. Teach kids to play in these areas instead of in, around or behind a car. Consider making your driveway a toy-free zone.

Don’t allow children to play unattended in parking lots when cars are present.

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