Getting Children to School Safely: Parents are the Key

Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for children under 15 years of age. In fact, almost one-third of all pedestrian and vehicle casualties are children in this age group. Children's involvement in traffic collisions peaks between five and nine years of age — when youngsters are just beginning school. Children in this age group lack the knowledge and experience needed to deal safely with many traffic situations. You can lessen the hazards your children face by teaching safe walking habits and involving your children in the selection of the safest route to and from school.

Parents

  • Discuss the safest route to school with your kids.
  • Map out the route on paper to help your children "see" the route before they are on the road.
  • Afterwards, walk along the route with your children so they may become familiar with it.
  • Talk about why it is safer to cross at some street corners rather than others — and to use crosswalks.
  • Discuss the meanings of traffic symbols with your children.
  • Help your children understand the importance of cooperating with police, AAA School Safety Patrols and adult crossing guards.
  • Teach your children to stop, listen and look for approaching and turning vehicles, especially those turning right on red.
  • Stress the importance of allowing enough time to cross the street safely.
  • Make sure your children know they must walk — not run — across the street and to continue to look for vehicles.
  • If your children have a good understanding of left and right, then introduce them to the concept of looking left-right-left before crossing.
  • Above all, set a good example for your children — their actions and attitudes are modeled after yours!

Children

  • Go directly to and from school or the school bus stop.
  • Cross at corners.
  • Cooperate with police, AAA School Safety Patrols™ and adult crossing guards.
  • Search in all directions for approaching vehicles before crossing any street.
  • Obey all traffic signals.
  • Watch for vehicles that might turn.
  • If you must walk on a road that does not have a sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far away from the roadway surface as possible.
  • Be extra alert in bad weather — drivers have trouble seeing and stopping in bad weather.
  • If you must walk after dark, wear something reflective or light-colored and carry a flashlight.