Start teaching your children about traffic rules early on. If you begin telling kids to stop at red lights while they are still toddlers, they'll probably have the message memorized by the time they venture out on their own. Be sure to include walking and biking rules with your safety information.
Crossing the Street
Tell kids to cross the street at the corner, says the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Before they step into the street, they should look right and left for traffic--and keep looking while they cross. Kids should learn to stay within the painted lines when there is a painted crosswalk. They shouldn't run as they cross, but they also should not tarry or play in the street.
Driveways and Parking Lots
Kids have to be aware of traffic all the time--not only when they're crossing the street, according to Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania. Whether they're on foot or riding their bikes, children should keep an eye out for cars entering and leaving driveways and parking lots. Drivers don't always pay attention as they turn into the street, so it's up to the kids to be careful.
Teach children how to interpret street signs and signals, recommends the New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. They should know what the lights and words mean, but they should also learn to take precautions. For instance, they know it means "go" if they see a green light or the lit-up picture of a person walking, but they should still look both ways for oncoming cars before they cross the street.
Traffic rules vary somewhat between bike riding and walking, so teach children the differences. Tell kids to ride their bikes on the right side of the road even though they walk on the left, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Explain that when they're on their bikes, they have to signal before turns and lane changes the same way a driver does. Also warn them to keep their ears open for cars, which means leaving their headsets in their backpacks while they pedal.