Client Groups – Parents and Children

Pedestrian Safety for Children

Just like you, your children must be vigilant when walking near home, around the neighbourhood or near school.

Teach your children to be vigilant

Your children have a new world to discover just steps away from your front door, and you can teach them safety rules for getting around on foot.

Useful information

While walking, children may have difficulty:

  • evaluating a vehicle's distance and speed
  • determining the source of a noise
  • seeing oncoming vehicles 

Teach your children to look out for cars that are backing out of driveways and explain that when a vehicle is backing up, its backup lights are on.

Remember that you are a role model

Your children imitate you. If you don't obey safety rules, they will have trouble understanding that they should obey them.

Good behaviours to teach your children

At all times, they should:

  • walk on sidewalks. If there are none, walk on the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Although it is best to face oncoming vehicles, you may walk on either side of the street by choosing the safest side
  • cross at safe locations: a crosswalk supervised by a crossing guard, an intersection or a pedestrian crossing
  • obey pedestrian signal lights at intersections. If there are none, cross with caution when the light is green
  • wear brightly coloured clothing or reflective strips to be visible at night, or when it's raining or snowing
  • avoid crossing the street between two stopped vehicles

Before crossing the street

  1. Listen: are there cars coming?
  2. Look: left, right, left again, and over your shoulder. Make sure the driver has seen you and the car has stopped before stepping into the street.
  3. Think: is the way clear? If so, do you have time to cross the street without having to run?

Around trucks

Repeat (over and over!) that you should always stay away from large vehicles. Buses, trucks and vans have several blind spots that prevent drivers from seeing things around them properly.

Tell your children:

  • to always cross the street far in front of a truck, never behind it
  • that if they cannot see the driver's eyes when looking in the vehicle's windows or mirrors, the driver cannot see them either

Around school

If your child will be starting school soon – or if he or she has already started – practise walking around the school together. This will allow you to explain:

  • the particularities of the pedestrian crosswalk (how they work!)
  • traffic lights (is turning right on red allowed?)
  • signs and signals around the school
  • the places to be especially careful (near a large tree, a snowbank or anything else that could block vehicles from view)

Meaning of traffic signs

Show the following illustrations to your children and ask them whether they remember seeing any of them. Explain what they mean and point them out during your next walk together.

 

Illustration of a red, amber and green vertical traffic light. Red light: Do not cross

Yellow light: Wait, or finish crossing quickly if you have already started 

Green: Cross with caution 



Illustration of a pedestrian traffic light showing a white human silhouette and a countdown timer authorizing pedestrians to cross the road. Fixed signal: Cross with caution 

The numerical countdown indicates the time you have left to cross
Illustration of a pedestrian traffic light showing a flashing orange hand and a countdown timer indicating the time left to cross the street. Flashing signal: Wait, or finish crossing quickly if you have already started
Illustration of a pedestrian traffic light showing a flashing orange hand and a countdown timer indicating zero, thus prohibiting pedestrians from crossing. Fixed signal: Do not cross    
Yellow diamond-shaped traffic sign indicating danger. Danger
Sign showing a red circle with a diagonal bar through it that indicates that whatever is in the circle is prohibited. Prohibition
Red octogonal stop sign. Stop
Sign showing a green circle. This sign indicates that whatever is in the circle is mandatory. Obligation or permission
Sign with two schoolchildren walking and an arrow. This sign indicates a school crosswalk.
Sign with a child running behind a ball. This sign indicates a playground crosswalk.
Sign with a pedestrian and an arrow. This sign indicates a pedestrian crosswalk.
Cross where shown by the arrow

Practise often: in the fall, winter and spring

It is important to practise safe walking with your children often, since the environment and weather conditions can have an impact on a lot of things:

  • it is important to be visible at all times, especially when it starts getting dark earlier in the fall
  • in winter, snowbanks can prevent drivers from properly seeing children
  • when the pavement is wet, snowy or icy, cars needs more time to stop and could also skid. It's a good idea to stay away from the side of the road!