Walking to School: How To Keep Children Safe - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Walking to School: How To Keep Children Safe


There is still time to enjoy the warm weather and outdoor activities of summer, but for families with school-age children, it’s time to begin planning for the start of another school year. Between trips to the stores to shop for shoes, clothing and school supplies, parents should take the time to make certain their children understand how to stay safe as they make their way to and from school each day. One study found that 51 percent of teenaged pedestrians reported being hit or nearly hit by motor vehicles while walking, which highlights the importance of teaching children the skills they need to get to and from school without incident.

When should children be allowed to walk to school?

The age at which children can be trusted to safely walk to school on their own really depends upon each child’s ability recognize hazards that exist and the how prepared the child is to cope with them. It is up to parents to evaluate whether their children are ready to make the trip on their own.

Unless you have taken an active role in teaching your child how to cross the street and the safest route to take to get to school, chances are your child is not ready to make head off to school alone. Start teaching your child at an early age the route and the precautions to take along it to stay safe.

Factors that might influence a parent when trying to decide if a child is prepared to walk to school without a parent include:

  • The presence of busy intersections along the route.
  • The presence of school crossing guards or pedestrian crossovers.
  • Making certain a child understands to wait for traffic to stop before proceeding across the street.
  • The ability of the child to pay attention to his or her surroundings to avoid deviating from the route and to recognize hazards along the way.

Getting together with other parents in your neighbourhood to arrange for children to walk to school together can ease some of the uncertainty for parents and their children.

Skills children need to safely cross the street

There are some basic skills every child needs to know and perform well before being allowed to walk to school unaccompanied by a parent, including:

  • A cellphone can be good to have in an emergency, but children need to understand their attention must be on the street and the traffic instead talking or texting on their cellphone.
  • Only cross the street at an intersection where there is a traffic signal or a school crossing guard whenever possible.
  • Never cross the street in the middle of the block.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street, and do not cross until approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop.
  • Be aware of turning vehicles.

Parents should accompany their children on walks to ensure they can safely cross streets and handle traffic situations.

Teaching children about strangers

Experts now believe that teaching children a blanket rule to never speak to or approach strangers might be doing more harm than good because it could prevent them from seeking help from “safe” adults when they are lost or in trouble. What they suggest is teaching children how to distinguish between strangers who are safe to approach, such as police officers, and others who might cause them harm.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

Taking the time to teach children how to navigate the route from home to school is the best way to ensure your child stays safe. If an accident happens, the personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of those suffering injuries due to the negligence of others. If you have or your child are injured in an accident, you should speak to one of our lawyers. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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