Whether it’s to school, the bus stop or around the community, children shouldn’t walk without an adult until they’re ready to. For most children, this isn’t until they’re at least 10 years old. As Trinkle says, “developmentally, children cannot judge speed or distance of driving vehicles until around age 10 or about fifth grade.”
Until your child is ready to walk on their own, practice walking to school safely with them, teaching them to:
- Walk on the safest surface. Walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.
- Cross the street where drivers expect you. Cross the street at marked crosswalks or intersections, never mid-block. Always follow the instructions of the crossing guard or the walk/don’t walk signal.
- Make sure there is no oncoming traffic before crossing. Always look left, right and then left again before crossing the street. Continue looking both ways until safely across.
- Avoid distracted walking: Never walk while using earbuds, texting or doing anything else that may prevent you from hearing traffic or distract your attention