Now that Christmas has come and gone, we are all left to sit back, enjoy the gifts the season brought our way, and recover from excess of delicious food indulged in during various celebrations. While adults are busy recovering from the holiday, kids are still in party mode, ready to enjoy their presents from Santa to the fullest…especially if those presents have wheels! ATVs, bicycles, and scooters are all hot items on lists of children and teens everywhere, but especially here in Tampa Bay where the good weather means playing outside is a year-round activity. Unfortunately, as fun as these gifts can be, they can also pose a risk.
It’s true, learning to ride a bike, a scooter, roller skating, etc. is good for helping children reach milestones, develop a sense of balance and space awareness, and learn road safety rules early in life. However, while your child might have a grasp of these rules, other motorists don’t. Sharing the road with vehicles, even in your own neighborhood, can be dangerous for kids and teens of all ages.
So, how can you better prepare your kids after they open their new set of wheels this year?
First, be sure they understand your own household rules for using their new gift before you ever address road rules. If you have very young children, it’s best that they have guidelines on when they are allowed to go outside and ride/drive, and whether or not they are allowed outside of your own yard. If you have a large driveway, concrete patio, etc. these can be good practice areas that offer safety and security as your child builds confidence on their wheels. Be sure they comprehend that they are NOT allowed on or near the street or sidewalk without you or another trusted adult.
Once you have rules in place for your own home, make sure your child has a basic understanding of road safety. For younger children, begin with teaching about stop signs, safe areas to cross and when it’s proper to do so, etc. Older children who might be doing independent riding should know which side of the street to ride on based on direction, how to signal turns with their hands, and so forth. This is key in keeping them safe if and when they are on the road on their own.
Finally, practice safe driving as an example to your kids. Follow the posted speed limits, utilize signals, give pedestrians plenty of clearance, etc. Verbally take note of these things when you children are in the car with you, so they develop an awareness of road safety and it becomes second nature. This will not only help protect them as they enjoy their new bikes or other “toys,” but will turn them into lifelong responsible drivers.
If a child or someone you love has been affected by the neglect of another driver and has been injured, Sessums Law Group is your answer. We help you get the compensation you deserve, and offer support before, during, and following a trial. We are waiting, and WE STAND FOR YOU!