It’s important for children to learn to walk safely in their community. Walking is a healthy activity that provides exercise. As children grow older and gain the skills needed to be safe, walking gives them freedom and flexibility to grow and explore the world.
Each year, over 8000 children are seriously injured or killed when walking in their neighborhood. Parents can play a major role in keeping children safe in their communities and reducing pedestrian injury and death.
Supervise young children
Supervise young children as they walk on or near roads.
For very young children, hold their hand and talk, both about traffic safety and other things. For children who are a little older, stay close and discuss how you make decisions to stay safe on the roadway.
- Always hold hands when crossing the road
- Give your full attention when on the road, put away your cell phone
- Young children should not cross any roads unsupervised
Teach your children
Teach your children about pedestrian safety.
Look for the opportunities to teach. Find times when you are walking near traffic, even just in a parking lot, and mention where you are looking and what you are looking for to stay safe. This can be matter-of-fact and just part of the daily conversation. No lecture, nothing special.
- Always cross at the designated place - even if it means walking a little further
- Only walk when the walk lights indicate it is safe but remember that drivers can break rules
- Make sure you can see and be seen
- Remove ear buds or headphones before crossing the road
- Be aware that vehicles can come from any direction in an intersection
- It’s not just cars to watch out for but look out for bicyclists as well
- Parked vehicles can make it hard for you to see and hard for drivers to see you
Be a good role model
Your children are watching you, whether you know it or not. Be safe yourself on the road - both walking and driving - and your children will learn to be safe also.
- Model the behavior you want your children to learn
- Remember to always follow these tips yourself too!
Knowledge Check: Supervising Children
Knowledge Check: Is it safe to cross?
Knowledge Check: Be a good role model
Seattle Department of Transportation
Reading is a fun way to learn about safety.
Find Books about walking, rolling and biking
Let’s Go Safety Education from Seattle Department of Transportation Educational Video Series
Learn to walk and bike safely and learn to check your bike before you ride.
Washington Safe Routes to School Network
Need help planning a walk to school day? Teaching a lesson on safe walking?Connect with your local Washington Safe Route to School network
National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) K-5 Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum for Teachers
Includes lesson plans, worksheets and parent/caregiver tip sheets in Spanish.
Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum
Safe Kids - Pedestrian Safety Tips in English and Spanish
Pedestrian Safety Tips