CROSSING THE STREET: A BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE – Orlando | Tampa | Clearwater | Jacksonville

It’s that time of year again. Parents all over the nation are swarming local stores and loading up on school supplies in preparation for the upcoming year. In Florida, residents have more to worry about than navigating the crowded aisles and making it out of their favorite big-box store alive. Floridian parents have to worry about their children’s walk to school. Why? Because Florida ranks second among the most hazardous states in the U.S. for pedestrians.  If you’re a parent in Orlando, Tampa, Clearwater, or Jacksonville, you should get your head off the desk and pay attention. These cities have been reported to be the most dangerous places to walk in 2014.1

So let’s face it; in all the back-to-school commotion it’s easy for parents to forget to supply their children with street safety techniques. Whether your child is embarking on their maiden voyage to the bus stop, or is months away from their own driver’s license, utilizing the following safety techniques published by Safe Kids Worldwide2 can help ensure a safe and enjoyable school year:

Tips for a Safe Maiden Voyage to the Bus Stop—Teaching Young Children:
  • Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Instruct them to be alert and continue looking while crossing until safely across. 
  • Explain that they should always walk on sidewalks or paths and cross the street at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks or paths available, tell them to walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • If your child is under 10, make sure an adult is with them while crossing the street. While every child is unique, studies have shown that most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  • Encourage kids to be especially aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Tell kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars before looking both ways.
  • If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially watchful and make sure they are visible to drivers. An easy way to help visibility is to have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.

Tips for the “Seasoned-Vets”—Stressing the Importance of Avoiding Distractions to Tweens & Teens: 
  • Teach kids to put phones, headphones and all other devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce the message with teenagers.
  • Teach them to always be aware of their surroundings. Encourage them to be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when you see someone who is in danger.
  • If kids need to use a cell phone, teach them to stop walking and find a safe area to talk.
Florida Personal Injury Attorney G. Alan Tripp, Jr., urges parents to lead by example and use due care when educating their children on street safety. Remember: Children are great imitators; so give them something great to imitate. 

If you or a loved one are injured by the negligence and improper conduct of another, call the TRIPP LAW FIRM – Personal Injury Law at (727)398-2900 in Pinellas/Pasco, (813)699-9560 in Tampa/Hillsborough County, and (407)850-8680 in Orlando/Orange County for an immediate, confidential case evaluation. There is NO Fee and NO Costs if we do not obtain a Recovery for YOU.
TRIPP LAW FIRM – Personal Injury Law
Available 24/7

TOLL-FREE: (888) 392 – LAWS (5297)

1   Dangerous by Design 2014, Smart Growth America – National Complete Streets Coalition Report, May 2014, available at
2   Pedestrian Safety Tips, Safe Kids Worldwide, available at

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