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When you are with your young children, you simply have them hold your hand to cross the road. That’s a great place to begin, but you also need to work with them on road safety so that they know what to do when you’re not around. You won’t always be there. Prepare them to stay safe when you’re not.

To help, here are a few key tips:

  • Start with looking both ways and being aware of traffic. Remember that they should actually look three times, checking to one side, the other side and then back to the first side. It’s the safest way to enter the street.
  • Discuss crosswalks, both those with signals and those without. Explain to children to always use crosswalks and never to cross unexpectedly or at random.
  • Model the behavior that you want them to follow. They will learn from what you do. If you give them one set of rules and then don’t follow those rules yourself, neither will they.
  • Talk about the role that distractions play. Tell children never to cross the road while texting or listening to music.
  • To help young kids remember, consider putting your directions into a song. They remember songs far better than anything else.
  • After going over all of this, quiz your child from time to time. Make up scenarios and ask them what they would do, or have them explain the steps as you cross the road together.

These safety tips can help, but children still get injured in car accidents every day, and parents need to know their legal rights.