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7 Safety Tips for Walking to School

We bought our house located less than a quarter of a mile from an elementary school the spring before Boy Wonder started kindergarten. “How great it will be to walk to and from school when he gets just a little older!” we thought.

Five years later as Boy Wonder gears up to enter the 5th grade where apparently “everybody walks to school” he’s begging for the opportunity to go it alone. Sigh. Really?

Despite my reservation, it doesn’t seem unreasonable. About.com mentioned that the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests kids younger than 10 years old (or 5th grade) may not possess the problem solving ability to handle unforeseen circumstances. Call me a helicopter parent, but I’m having a hard time with the idea of letting him go.

I suspect sometime within this 5th grade school year I’ll loosen the reins and allow him to walk alone … I think … maybe … but only if he follows these very important safety tips for walking to school —check ‘em out after the jump!


  • Be realistic 1 of 7
    Be realistic
    While there is no "magic age" for pedestrian readiness, About.com suggests taking inventory of your child's pedestrian skills, carefully considering whether they are ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Route it 2 of 7
    Route it
    Designate a safe route to school with your child using crosswalks, pedestrian signals, and crossing guards whenever possible. Discourage the use of shortcuts and alternate routes.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Know the way 3 of 7
    Know the way
    Before allowing your child to walk or ride to school on her own, practice the route several times until she feels safe and comfortable on her route.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Pedestrian 411 4 of 7
    Pedestrian 411
    Make sure your child knows to:
    - Always look left, right, left before crossing the street
    - Do not jaywalk.
    - Pay attention to traffic at all times.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Watch street corners 5 of 7
    Watch street corners
    Unfortunately, drivers often turn corners at high speeds oblivious to pedestrians. Have your child be on the lookout for cars turning corners while crossing the street.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Be seen 6 of 7
    Be seen
    Help your child become more visible to drivers by design them in bright colors and a brightly colored jacket come winter. Make sure your child understands that just because they can see the driver, the driver may not see them.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Stranger danger 7 of 7
    Stranger danger
    Make sure your child understands that they are never, under any circumstances to follow even a seemingly well-intentioned stranger. Try organizing a walking group of neighborhood children to and from school. There's safety in numbers.
    Image credit: Shutterstock

Do you allow your kids to walk to school?

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