Vancouver, British Columbia – The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has presented a series of tips to help parents teach their children about road safety. Canada’s annual Safe Kids Week runs May 25 to 31, 2009.
ICBC said that there are approximately 100 incidents and 110 injuries involving child pedestrians each year in British Columbia. The corporation suggests the following:
– Make it fun. Too often parents preach to their children, which they hate; make your road safety teaching fun while still treating it as a serious issue. On your next walk through your neighbourhood, try a fun and interactive game by having children point out all the traffic signs and ask if they know what they mean. Practice how to get to and from school safely, and draw the route with them. Even older children need to be reminded about road safety. Try rewarding them for following the steps to safely crossing an intersection, or coming up with solutions to intersection safety hazards they notice.
– Be a role model. Set a perfect example for them when teaching them about pedestrian safety. If children see you jaywalking, they will think it is okay to do so. The most common road safety error made by children is in not finding a safe place to cross. Teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or marked crosswalk whenever possible.
– Focus on the basics. Children will digest information about serious issues when it’s kept simple and relevant for them to understand. Begin your pedestrian safety lessons with the key basics that you learned as a child, and which are still relevant today, including stopping before crossing, looking for vehicles, listening for traffic, making eye contact with drivers, and walking, not running, when crossing a road.
– Mark out safe areas. Focus on teaching your children where to position themselves when they are roads. They should always walk on the inside edge of a sidewalk, where there is less exposure to traffic. Without sidewalks, pedestrians should always walk facing traffic.
– Park it. Parking lots require special attention, as vehicles can back up or move without warning. Avoid any unnecessary shortcuts through parking lots when walking with your child.
ICBC provides free road safety materials to schools across B.C. For information on ordering them, and for more safety tips, visit ICBC and click on “Road Safety.”