HOT weather came early to B.C. this year but that means even more children will be playing outside now that school’s getting out for summer break. Road safety is not always top of mind for kids so it’s important to go over the rules of the road if you’re a parent and pay extra attention when you’re behind the wheel, especially around playgrounds and residential areas.
On average, 153 child pedestrians (aged five to 15) are injured in crashes each year in B.C.
Top tips for drivers:
* Slow down: With more children playing outside in the summer, be cautious and watch your speed, especially near playgrounds, parks and in residential areas. Playground speed limits remain in effect year-round.
* Watch for clues: In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that kids are playing nearby. Remember that a child could dash into the street at any moment. Pay attention and always anticipate the unexpected.
* Watch for cyclists: Actively watch for cyclists on the road who might be harder to see. Make eye contact with them whenever possible to let them know you have seen them. Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left.
Top tips for parents:
* Focus on the basics: Go over these important road safety tips with your children – even older children need to be reminded about road safety.
* Set a good example: Never jaywalk or run across the street. Where possible, cross at intersections with a pedestrian crossing light or marked crossing.
* Parked vehicles: Encourage your children to avoid shortcuts through parking lots or around parked cars where it’s harder for drivers to see small children.
* Safe driving with children: Relatives, friends’ parents, and other caregivers often transport children in the summer. The law requires children be secured in car seats or booster seats until they are four feet nine inches tall or at least nine years old. Make sure your children’s seats or boosters goes with them if they might travel without you by car.
* Cycling 101: Cyclist injuries from crashes with vehicles peak in July and August. It’s never too early to teach your children safe cycling behaviour – it could help make it second-nature to them when they’re older. Start by covering these basics:
– Cycle in a straight line, avoid weaving and try to be as predictable as possible.
– When sharing a path with pedestrians, ride on the right hand side for everyone’s safety. Use a bell or horn to alert others when you plan to pass.
– When turning, shoulder check well in advance, hand signal and then with both hands on the handle bars, shoulder check again before turning.
– Make sure children wear approved helmets that meet safety standards every time they ride their bikes and periodically inspect them for signs of wear.