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Survival skills 101

Updated on February 26, 2012

Teaching your children to be safe

Teaching your kids the fundamentals of survival are more crucial here in the 21st century than they were when I was a kid in the 20th. Whether it’s in the city or the mountains and deserts it should be ingrained in their minds from the time they can walk.

Is this #1 survival skill being over looked because families don’t go for walks with their toddlers any longer? Good question.

#1 survival skill for the city dwelling child:

STOP BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET AND LOOK BOTH WAYS

Children, from the time they can walk, need to be taught to watch for cars. They are not ten feet tall and bullet proof. Strangers driving motor vehicles do not love your child as much as you do and do not have their best interests at heart.

I am mystified when I hear about high school or middle school age kids getting hit by a car in the crosswalk. We have two or three hit every year at the beginning of the school year. It breaks my heart and is why I’ve decided to do a blog about it.

I’m not entirely sure why people think they can step out into oncoming traffic and all the cars and trucks will magically stop. HUMAN FLESH IS NO MATCH FOR A 2000 POUND MOTOR VEHICLE PEOPLE! Metal and flesh do not go together. It takes the average small economy car three car lengths to stop going 35 miles per hour.

I know there are signs at all these crosswalks now that say stop for pedestrians when in the crosswalk. I get this! Nobody pays any attention to these signs. I have watched this time and time again every day on my way to and from work and while driving during the day. Yes it’s a law and if you get caught not stopping for a pedestrian you WILL get a ticket. I stop when I see people waiting to cross and I will sit there for probably two to five minutes watching ten twenty thirty cars go past both ways before some other conscientious driver will stop and block the other lane of traffic.

People are so wrapped up in their own little worlds in their own little cars they actually think they are alone. I see people doing the most ridiculous gross things sitting in their cars all alone. Picking their noses and looking at it then eating it or wiping it on their seats or clothes (gag gag gag you know who you are). I see people dancing in their car seat singing along making faces like they’re in agony. I see people texting, talking on the phones, reading books, newspapers, eating and drinking. I see people make right hand turns from the left hand lane without a thought about their own lives or the lives of the people traveling in the right hand lane.

Having vented all that let me just say this: When children move from grade school and crosswalk guards to being tweens and teens they should be prepared to know how to cross a street safely. They should be smart enough and observant enough to protect themselves on the way to and from school. I’m not saying every time a kid gets hit it’s their fault but the majority of the time it could have been prevented by the child itself. They are being treated as adults at this point. They have their own phones their own computers and they are on their own most of the day. Let’s give them this small tool that every person on the face of the planet should use as a survival tool. It’s free!

If you have never gone for a walk with your child and observed his or her street crossing capabilities you should do that every day until they get it right. I was TOTALLY surprised when my 13 year old granddaughter and I walked across a fairly busy street to get a drink at the corner market and she, without looking, started to step into the street with a car coming. Luckily I was there to grab her by the arm and jerk her back and the guy in the little pickup was watching and stopped. I admit I smacked her on her backside at that point, it scared me that much! It hurt her feelings and embarrassed her but if it keeps her from getting killed it was worth it to me.

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