This blog comes out of concern for children whose parents allow them to cross streets unsupervised. I constantly witness little kids riding their wobbly bikes on the road, chasing balls, skating, etc in the street without adult supervision. I'm talking about 5, 6, and 7 year olds. As a registered family daycare provider for ten years and a mother of two, I am very experienced with the capabilities of little children. First and foremost, if you're allowing your young child to cross the street and basing your decision to allow them to do so on their level of maturity, you need some information. Regardless of how "mature" you think your child is, small children have physical limitations that make it dangerous for them to cross the street unsupervised.
There is a child in my neighborhood who crosses back and forth across the street multiple times each day... he is FOUR! His parents are in the house while he is outside playing. This whole scenerio is dangerous on so many levels but the fact that he crosses the street (without looking) is scary. Small children most often have tunnel vision. When he is crossing to get his light saber, all he is thinking about it that toy. I plan on speaking to his mom hopefully, she'll receive it well. I just know I couldn't live with myself, if he got hit by a car and I didn't even try to speak to her. Here are some facts:
Children are children, not young adults. It's important to understand children's limitations in understanding traffic.
*Have a narrower field of vision than adults, about 1/3 less.
*Cannot easily judge a car's speed and distance.
*Assume that if they can see a car, its driver must be able to see them. However, children are easily hidden from view by parked cars and other objects.
*Cannot readily tell the direction a sound is coming from.
*May be impatient and impulsive.
*Concentrate on only one thing at a time.
*Have a limited sense of danger.
*Often mix fantasy with reality.
*Imitate the (often bad) behavior of others, especially older children and adults.
Parents... if nothing else, educate your children.
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