Every year, about 30.000 children under 15 injured in traffic accidents (German Road Safety Council). Whether on the way to school, playing in residential areas or crossing the street – anywhere can be dangerous. Preschool and elementary school-aged children, in particular, are still unsafe on the road. They must first learn to correctly assess dangers, what the different traffic signs mean and how to behave properly.
Children are already less able to see roads than adults because of their height. To replicate their child's field of vision, parents should feel free to squat between parked cars and try to look across traffic. Children also lack the experiential skills necessary to recognize hazards as such. Consider that school-age children need three times the time of an adult to respond to difficult traffic situations.
So practice proper behavior on sidewalks with your child as well. Explain to him that there is a safe side and a dangerous side on the sidewalk. Namely, the one that is separated from the street with the curb for that extra reason.
Here are a few tips on how to arm your kids against the dangers of the road:
– Show your child how to properly look out for moving traffic. Young children often don't focus on traffic on the road. Your attention is easily diverted from other people or things like z.B. Distracted by parked cars. Therefore, you should ask your child exactly what it sees.
– Point out to your child what a motorist can see of him or her. Your child should be aware that he or she cannot be seen between bushes, parked cars or behind other obstacles, and that drivers are therefore not expecting him or her.
– Show your child the safest route when walking alone to a friend's house, kindergarten or school. The safest route is not always the shortest one. Detours should be accepted, busy roads should be avoided. If possible, streets should be crossed at secured crosswalks (traffic lights, crosswalks). If this is not possible, look for free places where no parked cars or bushes block the view. Discuss what your child should look for at a traffic light or. At a crosswalk. It should make eye contact with the drivers of approaching vehicles and give a hand signal so the driver can tell it wants to cross the street and not cross until the cars are already stopped.
– When you have discussed everything and practiced often enough, switch roles with your child. Then you are the child. Have everything explained to them. Your child will be happy to catch you making some mistakes.
– Accompany your child until he or she is safe. Remain consistent in your behavior. Always cross the street in the same place. Always press the traffic light.
– If your child uses public transportation, you should practice this with him or her as well.
– Children should not cross streets until after they have passed the bicycle test in 4th grade traffic class. Riding a bike alone in the first class. With bicycle or Kick board one is faster than on foot. This requires children to be able to see over situations more quickly as well. However, this is exactly what they are often not yet able to do due to lack of experience. This is why children should always ride on the sidewalk. Get off their vehicle to cross a street! But if your child doesn't want to give up his or her rideable vehicle even at preschool age, let him or her ride a pedal scooter with big balloon tires. Here, even a three-year-old can jump off quickly enough in case of danger. And don't forget: Always wear a helmet when riding a scooter or a bicycle.
To help other road users react quickly, it is important that children can be seen from a distance. Especially on cloudy days are bright clothes. Conspicuous reflectors recommended. Reflective stripes are often already sewn onto items of clothing such as jackets, shoes or caps. Often, however, these are not enough. Special badges, tags, or even safety collars that go over the chest and satchel can be additionally useful.