As the weather gets warmer in the springtime, many children and teens spend more time outdoors pursuing sports, recreational activities, and other fun activities. Unfortunately, while this is extremely healthy, it can also cause an increase in bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other accidents involving children and minors. Parents will want to encourage their children to spend time outdoors and pursue their favorite activities, but there are many ways to do this safely:
1) Review safety rules. If your child is taking out their bicycle for the first time this season, or is heading outdoors for a fun evening at the park, review household safety rules. If you don’t have any rules about safety in your home, this is a great time to formulate some with your children and post them in a visible spot in your home. Remind your children, for example, to look both ways before crossing the street, and to use correct signals when making a turn on their bicycle.
2) Ensure that children are not distracted when heading out. Whether your teen is heading out for a jog or your younger child is heading out on a bicycle for the first time, encourage your children to stay alert. Discourage your children from using cell phones, mobile devices, or headphones while jogging, bicycling, or even just walking. Headphones and mobile devices distract can prevent your children from noticing cars, other pedestrians, and bicycles on the road. This distraction can easily contribute to a pedestrian or bicycling accident.
3) Set limits. Make sure that your children know the limits of what they are and are not allowed to do. Younger children may have a specific curfew or may only be allowed to go within certain boundaries. Older children may have to be back home by a later time or may have to check in with you every few hours by telephone. Set the rules and make sure that children abide by the rules at all times.
4) Maintain good contact. Cell phones are great way for parents and children to stay in touch. They can be a great way for children to let parents know when they need a ride home or when they are going to be late. Encourage your children to phone home or text home every few hours or at specific times to let you know that they are safe and well.
5) Make sure your children have the knowledge to stay safe. Even if your child learned pool safety rules or bicycle safety rules last year, that does not mean they remember them now. Have your child get a few refresher lessons in their favorite sports and activities. These can be fun and can encourage your children to stay safe at their favorite activities.