According to Transport Canada statistics, a total of 33 children age birth to 14 years old were killed in Canada in 2001 (last study completed). Statistics also show that children from age 5 to 9 years old are the children at the highest risk in pedestrian fatalities. One of the reasons for the peak in deaths among 5 to 9 year olds is that these children spend increasing amounts of time as pedestrians and also that exposure to traffic suddenly increases at an age when road skills are still being learned. The next highest risk group are the 10 to 14 year old age group, and were mostly at intersections without traffic control.
The following are priority safety messages which should be emphasized to your children:
- Children under 9 years old should be accompanied by adults or older children when crossing the street
- Teach your children the rules of the road, and start when they are young.
By the time your child reaches age 9 and can act responsibly, road safety rules will be second nature
- Teach through play. Play act with toy cars, set up obstacle courses in the park or in your back yard. Make learning fun and you'll make it memorable. Talk about safety rules and your observations of safe or unsafe behaviour as you walk.
- Set an example. You may want to cut across the street in the middle of the block, but you want your child to learn to cross at the intersection. Be a good role model, always cross at corners and pedestrian crosswalks, not diagonally
- Teach children to stop before stepping on the road, look left, right and left again, and to listen for traffic before stepping out onto the street. Children should learn to wait until the street is clear and to keep looking until they have finished crossing the street. They should make eye contact with drivers of cars that are stopped at traffic lights before crossing.
- Children need to be extra alert when crossing at a corner with no traffic lights.
- Teach your children to stop at driveways, alleys and areas without curbs
- Remind children never to run out onto the street
- Children should recognize pedestrian crossing signals, but not rely on them.
- Before crossing, children should make sure traffic has stopped completely and should make eye contact with drivers.
- Children should be taught to respect the role of the crossing guard and to understand his/her signals.
- Teach children about the dangers of crossing the street between parked cars
- Teach children that playing games or not paying attention at railway crossings or around trains can be deadly. Remind them that trains can go by in both directions at any given time, even simultaneously on either track