Raising a street smart child

Published in Child Advocacy Services, For the Health of It Author: Mackensey Stang

Summer’s arrival means fun-filled, long sunny days where children can get outside and be active. Often, though, children want to move beyond their backyard to a park or friend’s home. Having them walk, bike or roll to these destinations can be a great way for them to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.

Here’s the thing: sending your children out into the world and trusting them to make safe decisions can be scary. Add in vehicles driving at highway speeds, and it’s tempting to play it safe by chauffeuring them around town. Despite our fears, obesity rates and decreased activity among our youth are on the rise, making it all the more important to address our reservations and make transportation on foot or wheels a realistic option. As parents, we need to view this as an opportunity to teach children street-smart best practices and behaviors. Here are some places to start:

  • Always wearing protective gear, such as helmets, shin and wrist guards
  • Obeying traffic laws, which include walking against traffic and biking or rolling with traffic
  • Being aware of drivers and other pedestrians on the road
  • Wearing brightly colored clothing to increase visibility
  • Looking left, right, left and behind before crossing the street
  • Mapping out paths that have sidewalks, limited street crossings and crossings with crosswalks

BLEND (Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily) is excited to partner with parents to promote and encourage active living. For more safety tips, visit BLEND for a list of bike rodeos and helmet fittings. You also will find details on our Fit Kids Club activities. With some basic education, your children can enjoy a healthy and injury free summer.