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Car Smarts for Preschoolers

by Lori Sciame | September 20th, 2012 | Preschool

You love your preschooler with all your heart. You couldn’t imagine anything happening to this precious little person, the child you have nurtured since he or she came into this world. Why, then, do so many parents ignore teaching little ones about car safety? If more parents would teach children to be safe around cars, fewer preschoolers would be injured, or worse yet, killed each year.

Imagine a neighborhood filled for many years with quiet, elderly folks. Recently, a young family moved in — complete with three children, 5, 3, and 2 years of age. The neighborhood has changed, but drivers who cut through to the highway don’t know it; therefore, they do not creep cautiously along the roads.

The scene would be fine if the parents of the youngsters had taught the children to stay out of the road (and they remain outside to watch them). Sadly, these three little ones ride their scooters into traffic, and they have even started running races in the road as well.

You can probably surmise – the current situation doesn’t bode well for these little ones. Of course I don’t think their parents hope that they will be injured; they just don’t realize that the danger is as real as it is.

Remember, no matter a person’s age, color, size, gender — in a battle between a car and a human, the car will always win!

So, parents of preschoolers take heed. Teach your children how to avoid injuries caused by motor vehicles. It doesn’t matter if the car is in the road, if it is in a driveway, or if it is in a parking lot, vehicles must be seen as objects that can be harmful.

First, teach your child to stay out of the road, no matter what. If a ball rolls into the road… let it. Maybe the dog has run across the street… let him. It is of the utmost importance that little ones keep out of traffic flow. You may have to take your child to the park to play. You may have to ride bikes with them on the sidewalk. You can even set up a safe zone in your own driveway by pulling your cars into the garage and by placing a barrier at the end. Do whatever it takes!

Next, children need to be aware that cars can back over them. Drivers many times do not see little children behind them as they exit a parking lot or a driveway. Teach your child to ASSUME that the driver does not see him, and to move away from a car that has started its engine. Also, no matter how secure you feel that your child is inside, make sure to check at least three times before backing out of your driveway — just in case.

You already know to keep a child out of a hot car, now take it a step further and teach your child to stay out of the road, and out from behind cars on the move as well. In effect, teach them car smarts.

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