5 Tips to teach kids safe winter walking skills

SR2S would like to remind parents, teachers and students to review safety procedures before everyone starts walking for Polar Walk again this year.

Here is a list of some things to review with children as they prepare to walk to school in winter weather: walk in groups, know your route, safe street crossings, wear reflective and bright clothing, and watch for cars backing up out of driveways.

  1. Know your Route – establish a route your child knows. Walk or bike the route with your child ahead of time so you can teach safe crossings at key intersections. Emphasis that this route will stay the same so if you need to come looking for them, you’ll know where they should be.
  2. Wear reflective clothing and Be Seen! – reflective and bright clothing helps cars see kids from farther away, thus giving them more stop time if needed.
  3. Cross the Street Safely Рteach children to stop, look and listen. Using all their senses will help them stay safe. Teaching children to wait until the car stops before they step out into the intersection is a safe practice. Teaching children how to communicate to cars that they are waiting to cross by standing in the direction they would like to cross, at a marked intersection, and by communicating with hand gestures to cars helps children navigate and communicate in their community. Explain to kids that just because they are waiting at an intersection, does not mean the cars will stop! Some drivers are focused on something else, cannot see them due to lighting, texting or other factors. Help children understand that they are the smallest so will get the most hurt if a car hits them so they have to be the most careful to keep themselves safe.
  4. Watch for Cars in Driveways – drivers backing up out of driveways may not be thinking about kids on the sidewalk, and/or cannot see kids on the sidewalk. White lights on the back of a car means the car is reversing. Teach children how to identify a driveway (sloped sidewalk, car in the driveway), and how to proceed cautiously once they have made sure the scene is safe.
  5. Walk with friends – there is safety in numbers if a stranger approaches. Walking with a friend is more fun too! The one thing to remember about walking with a friend is that everyone still has to be aware and responsible for their own safety. Especially when approaching intersections, stop talking, keep your eyes and ears open and communicate when it feels safe to cross together. Walking School Buses are a fun and safe way to walk with a group with adult supervision. A minimum of two parent leaders are at the front and back of the Walking School Bus. For more info on WSBs, click HERE
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