Outdoor Safety

Spring is here so you know what that means - your kids want to get outside and play! After a long winter cooped up inside, there's nothing better than heading out for a bike ride in the fresh spring air. But have your children already forgotten all their street safety lessons? Here are the tips your kids need to know to have fun and stay safe.

Pedestrian Rules

  • Never run out onto the streets; this is the number one cause of fatal pedestrian accidents involving children. Make it a rule that an adult must be at hand when a toy or a pet ends up in the street - they should never go after the item by themselves.
  • Always cross at an intersection or at a crosswalk and obey the pedestrian signals at all times. Teach your child to always look both ways, even when he has the right of way. It is a good idea to enforce a "Don't cross the street without an adult" rule for younger children.
  • Always walk against traffic when there are no sidewalks. Stay as far to the left as possible.
  • If your children are going to be out at night or even at dusk, make sure they have some reflective clothing or tape on.

For more on pedestrian safety, read Street Smarts.

Playground Time

  • Prevent strangulation hazards on the playground by avoiding clothes with drawstrings. Alternatively, remove the strings from the clothing.
  • Teach your child to watch for any equipment on the playground that is broken, damaged or dangerous looking and to tell you if they spot any questionable equipment.
  • Emphasize the importance of playing nicely on the playground; enforce a zero tolerance policy when it comes to pushing and shoving on the playground, especially on the higher up equipment, like a slide.
Safe Riding
  • Never let your child ride their bike without a helmet. Head injury is the main cause of bike related deaths but just wearing a helmet significantly reduces your risk. Make sure you buy a helmet that properly fits your child's head.
  • Make sure both your child's clothing and bike are decked out in safety reflectors, which will help make your child more visible to motorists.
  • If your child is riding her bike on the street, help her understand that she is considered to be another vehicle. Therefore, she must travel with the traffic and obey all traffic signs and signals at all times.
  • Never let your child ride on the street if he does not know how to use proper bike signals.
  • Even if your child is riding on the sidewalk, teach her to always stop at intersections and crosswalks and check for traffic. If she is too young to ride by herself, then teach her to wait for you to accompany her across the street.

For more ways on making your children's bike rides safe, read Bike Safety Tips.

Stranger Danger

  • Help your children identify safe people they can go to for help if they get lost. This includes police officers, other parents and store clerks.
  • Make it a rule that your child must always tell you first before he goes to a friend's house or if his after school plans change.
  • Tell your child that she should never, ever wander off with someone she does not know. Teach her to run, yell and tell if she ever feels threatened by a stranger.

For more on keeping your kids safe on the streets, read Child Safety Outside the Home or check out our child safety videos.