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The Littlest Pedestrians: Keeping Your Kids Safe Near The Road

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 4,740 pedestrian deaths throughout the US in 2012. Unfortunately, many of these fatalities were children under the age of 15. Not only does building good habits in your children create safe values, but you could also be saving their lives. These tips will help you ensure that your children are crossing the streets safely.

1. Set a good example.

Walking with your child is the best way to set a good example. Avoid distractions when they aren't necessary, including the use of your cell phone. Point out different hazards along the way while telling your child what you are looking out for.

2. Know the route.

Always know which route your children are taking to school or anywhere else. Encourage your child to take the same route each day to ensure that you know exactly where to find them in case something bad happens. This will also help you map out the safest route possible.

If the route to school or a friend's house does not have sidewalks, encourage your child to walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic. Additionally, you should know what kind of lighting is available in these areas. Brightly colored clothing, flashlights and reflectors can enhance a pedestrian's visibility in dark areas.

3. Stop, look and listen.

Your children should always wait before crossing the street, even if it seems clear. Looking and listening are both essential features to ensure that no cars are coming. Additionally, your children should be crossing only at designated crosswalks or corners. Research suggests that as many as 70% of fatal pedestrian accidents occur in non-intersections.

4. Never assume a driver can see you.

Just because you can see a car does not mean that the driver sees you. The driver could be blinded by the sun, distracted or simply not looking near the sidewalk. Many accidents are caused by impaired drivers with poor reaction time. Ensure that you never cross in front of a car unless you know for certain that the driver sees you. In most cases, you should wait for eye contact and a wave.

If you or your child has been hit by a car, it is wise to seek out the assistance of a car accident attorney. Your child could face medical issues as a result of the accident, even if they are not immediately evident.