Even though every parent desires to keep their child safe, they cannot always keep an eye on them. Road safety is one of the most important aspects of safety for children when they are outside your home. International studies reveal that road accidents are one of the key causes of child mortality. A 2015 UAE report established that a child dies every week due to traffic accidents. Even though your kids cannot always be under your watchful eye, teaching them traffic rules can protect them when they are far from you. Wecashanycar explains three essential rules that every parent ought to teach their child.
1) How to cross the road
It is important to explain to kids that they should avoid running across the road as this puts them at risk. As a parent, one of the most vital things you will ever do is teaching your kids how and why they should use sidewalks and how to cross the road. Many children tend to be oblivious of the dangers around the roads and may at times cross the road without exercising any caution.
You must teach your children the importance of crossing the road at the designated area as this minimises the risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. The designated crossing areas are usually those that have zebra crossing or places with traffic signals.
When a child needs to cross a road that does not have either, it is necessary for them to check for oncoming traffic. In this case, you can demonstrate the following procedure of crossing the road to your child:-
- Look right. Look left. Make sure the road is clear before crossing
- Do not cross the road at a bend
- Do not cross the road in between traffic
Furthermore, despite stiff penalties in the UAE, not every driver will stop at the pedestrian crossing and as such the child should only cross when all the cars stop or if they are certain that there is no oncoming traffic. Drivers who fail to stop for school buses at school “Stop” signals are liable for AED 1000 fine and 10 black points.
2) Understand traffic signals
Teaching your children the various traffic signals is closely related to the lessons on where to cross the road. Even if your kids are aware of the importance of crossing the road at the designated places, they need to know the meaning of each traffic light color and sign so that they cross roads safely. You can turn this into a fun lesson but at the end of it all you should help them understand the following:-
- The walking man symbol directs or guides pedestrians. Explain to the kids that they should watch the walking man closely and only cross the road when he turns green
- Green means ‘go’. When the signal turns green vehicles start to move
- Red means ‘stop’. When the signal is red all vehicles must stop
- Yellow means ‘wait’. When the signal turns yellow, vehicles have to slow down and prepare to stop for pedestrians.
You need to have a practical lesson with your kids about different traffic signals. However, you must also teach them to watch out for any moving vehicles as not all drivers are responsible enough to stop and many violate traffic laws. Further to this, kids should be taught to avoid crossing on any road that has a “Don’t Walk”, “Deep Excavation” or “No Way Through” sign. In some cases these can be construction sites which are considered hazardous for them.
3) Practising etiquette while riding in a car or bus
Most parents dread any journey that involves driving their children because of the stress of child passengers. In fact some reports suggest that driving with kids is more dangerous than using your phone while driving. This is why it is so important to teach your children to be well behaved during any trip regardless of how short it is. Whether they are taking the school bus or riding with you, it is essential that you set firm in-car or riding the bus rules and ensure that your children understand and follow them. These should include:-
- They should remain seated at all times. Kids usually get restless most of the time and stand up during the shortest of journeys. This places them at risk, especially if the vehicle gets into an accident. You need to emphasize the need for them to remain seated while in a moving vehicle. In addition, you must also ensure that their seat belts are fastened. If for any reason they have to stand in the school bus, they must hold on to the rail of the bus for support.
- They should not stick out any body part through the window of a moving vehicle. Many kids have the bad habit of sticking out their hands and heads oblivious to the fact that they can get hit by vehicles speeding by. You need to teach them the dangers of this behavior.
- They should get off from the curb side. Many children tend to get off from any side of the vehicle. This endangers them because they can get hit by vehicles speeding by. You should therefore teach kids to get off from the curb side or at the parking lot.
In addition to these, you can also follow our parental guide on how to keep your kids safe and organised during any car trip. Regardless of how many traffic rules you teach your kids, you must lead by example. For instance, if you never belt up when driving, there are high chances that your child will not see the need to fasten their seat belt either. Kids often imitate what their parents or other adults around them do and if you exercise all the above rules, it will be much easier to help your child understand the importance and follow them to the letter. Besides the safety of your child, UAE has very stringent traffic regulations on child safety which you must abide by or face hefty fines.