It is difficult to keep your kids safe from all of the world’s evils, especially when there is so much to be worried about these days. At Keller & Keller, we are often approached by parents of children who are injured by neighborhood dogs or distracted drivers while riding their bike or playing with friends in their own neighborhood. When these incidents happen, the child is almost always close to home. Violent crime aside, here are some important tips to keep your kids safe on their own street.
Talk to Your Kids about Playing Safely
Doctors and psychologists agree, outdoor play is good for kids. Kids should be able to play outside and enjoy their neighborhood with their friends. Playing kickball in a neighbor’s backyard or riding bikes in the neighborhood cul-de-sac is a hallmark of childhood. But, kids are impulsive and get distracted easily, which is why it is so important to sit down and talk to your kids about what to do in certain situations.
Playing in the Street
When crossing the street, tell your kids to stop, look both ways, and listen. Be sure to reiterate these ideas often; when you are driving in the car with them, when you are crossing a busy intersection, or when you see others walking around the neighborhood. Familyeducation.com has great resources on teaching your kids the rules of the road.
Also, remind your children that their toys are not nearly as important as their lives. Make sure they know not to run after a ball or toy that has rolled into the street. Just as quickly as that toy can be crushed by a speeding car, so can a child.
One strategy suggested by many parenting blogs is to teach your children that they should completely stop all play if a car is seen or heard approaching. Wait until the car passes to resume play.
Make sure that your children know to stay away from neighborhood ponds and lakes. If they are at a neighbor’s home with a pool, make sure that the other parent is vigilant and that the children know not to go near the water. According to the Red Cross, preventing unsupervised access to water is key to safety.
Electronic pet fences have become very popular. However, even though they may be effective in keeping dogs inside, they are not always effective when it comes to keeping children out. Make sure kids know the boundaries of their own yard and alert them to yards they should avoid. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a great list of tips to help prevent dog bites.
Make sure that your kids know that they can only go so far. Do you want them crossing streets by themselves? Do you want them to go around the corner where they are out of your line of vision? Are there certain homes in your neighborhood that you don’t want your child to go near? Setting boundaries is important. Make sure your child knows not to go outside of the safe zone you have established.
Invest in Some Signs
“Caution: Children at Play” signs can be found inexpensively online and even at Walmart. Work with other parents in your neighborhood to use signs and cones to alert drives to the need to slow down.
Ask the City for a Speed Bump
If excessive speeding is a continuous problem in your neighborhood, consider talking to your city or county about getting a speed bump installed to slow speeders. Also, ask local police departments to patrol in their down time to deter speeders in the area.
Child Safety Is an Issue Close to Our Hearts
At Keller & Keller, we have represented hundreds of children who have been harmed by speeding and distracted drivers or injured by dogs in their own neighborhood. The case of one particular client, Samantha Allen, who sustained life altering injuries when she was struck by a vehicle as she crossed the street from her house to play with her sister, inspired Partner Jim Keller to develop Samantha’s House.
Samantha’s House is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping people who are trapped physically and financially by serious illness or disability by making their living conditions more conducive to their unique needs. If you child has been injured in an accident, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.