Summertime traffic safety important

Child traffic safety involves pedestrians, caregivers and motorists

School is out for summer and it’s an exciting time for children, as many are looking forward to spending more time outdoors.

It also marks the time when drivers and parents need to help keep children safe on the roads during the summer months.

In 2012, 48 child pedestrians (aged five to 12) were injured in 47 incidents. This means all child pedestrian-related incidents reported to ICBC involved a child being injured.

ICBC’s tips for drivers

• During the summer months, the 30-km/h speed limits in school zones are only in effect between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. if summer school is in session. However children often play around these areas, so drive cautiously at all times.

• Drivers aren’t used to seeing crowded playgrounds and parks during the day, but this all changes in the summer. Remember that playground speed limits remain in effect year-round. When driving around playgrounds and parks, observe carefully. Small children are less predictable and harder to see than adults.

• In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean children are playing nearby. Remember a child could dash into the street at any moment. Pay attention and always anticipate the unexpected.

ICBC’s pedestrian safety tips

• Parents are the number 1 role models for their children, so make sure you set a good example when teaching them about pedestrian safety. If your child sees you jaywalking, they will think it is OK to do and will do the same thing. Make sure you teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible.

• Make your road safety teaching fun while still treating it as a serious issue. For younger children, try an interactive game by having them point out all the traffic signs they see and ask if they know what they mean. For older children, remind them to put away their phones and remove their headphones when crossing the road.

• Children will digest information about serious issues when it’s kept simple and relevant. Therefore, begin your pedestrian safety lessons with the key basics that you learned as a kid, which are still relevant today.

Crossing at intersections

• Before crossing at intersections, always stop at the curb. Make sure all vehicles have stopped.

• Look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look again over your shoulders for vehicles that might be turning. Teach your children to keep looking for approaching vehicles as they cross.

• Listen for approaching traffic that you can’t yet see.

• Even if the walk signal is on, teach your children to make eye contact with drivers before they cross.

• Teach your children to walk, and never run when crossing a road.

• Focus on teaching your children where to safely position themselves when they are around roads. Children should always walk on the inside edge of a sidewalk where they are less exposed to traffic. If there isn’t a sidewalk, teach them to walk facing oncoming traffic, so they can see approaching vehicles and make eye contact with drivers.

• Children should avoid shortcuts through parking lots where drivers can often be distracted by more complex manoeuvres.