6 CHAPTER 1
Several factors put young children at risk for injury as pedestrians. First, a
driver may not see a small child who is playing in the street, on a tricycle, or
between parked cars. Parents and other family members may be unaware that a
child is playing in the driveway, resulting in risk of back-over injury. With large
vehicles, such as SUVs and vans, the driver may be unable to see a child playing
in front of the vehicle.
To a very young child (under five years of age), the headlights on a vehicle
appear to be similar to eyes. They may believe that since they can see the vehicle,
the vehicle can see them. Additionally children are impulsive in their actions. If
a ball rolls into the street, children are very likely to run after it, possibly in front
of a moving vehicle.
Children’s sensory development affects their safety. The maturity level of
children under ten years of age makes them less able to correctly estimate road
dangers or consequences of their actions. For example, preschool children can-
not accurately determine if a vehicle is coming toward or going away from them,
the distance of the vehicle, or the speed. Family members and other adults often
overestimate children’s pedestrian skills. A young child can say the words and
may appear to “stop, look, and listen” when an adult is supervising. However,
young children may misjudge a vehicle’s speed or direction and cross in front of
an oncoming vehicle.
Adult supervision is essential to child pedestrian safety. Be aware of the po-
tential risks when children are on field trips, entering or exiting a bus or other
vehicle, on walks near a street, or on unfenced playgrounds.
traffic crossing guard
street CREATING THE ENVIRONMENT
Create indoor and outdoor play areas to simulate traffic and pedestrian ar-
eas. Designate “streets and roads” on the playground pathways so children
can practice both pedestrian and vehicle safety awareness.
Bring in props, such as traffic signs and crossing guard vests, to represent
those used in your community.
Set up a learning center in a large area to represent a street or road crossing,
or create a table game with streets, toy vehicles, and figures of people. As