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Traffic Safety Tips for Kids – S1 E21

The weather is finally perfect for playground visits, neighborhood walks, and bike rides. As we are out and about with our kiddos in tow, there’s a lot to know about staying safe outside! From crossing roads while holding your toddler’s hand to walking through a busy parking lot, traffic safety is key. Plus, it’s a great time to teach safety tips to your little ones traveling with you.

Nadji Kirby of Safe Kids Worldwide joins host Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez to discuss helpful safety advice for parents of young children. Learn how to safely enjoy your walks, board public transportation, and cross the street with your kids!

Podcast Resources:
Parent’s Guide to Child Safety
Safe Kids Worldwide
Guest: Nadji Kirby
Strong Families AZ
Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez
Podcast Credits:

host Host: Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez is the Program Director for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

host Guest: Nadij Kirby is a Senior Program Manager at the global nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide.


Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Parenting Brief. I’m Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez, an Arizona working mom and Program Director for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program at the Arizona Department of Health Services. This podcast is the place to get answers to your biggest parenting questions. As you transition from pregnancy, to raising a newborn, and to caring for your growing toddler, we have expert advice and helpful solutions just for you.

We’re so glad you’re here for another episode of The Parenting Brief. Across Arizona, the weather is finally perfect for walks, bike rides, and play dates at the park. As we spend more time with our little ones outdoors, we always want to keep our heads on the swivel for cars and keeping track of our fast little toddlers. Especially when playing near busy roads or crossing [00:01:00] streets with a stroller. And with your kiddos in tow, it’s a great time to teach them, by example, how to safely travel outside.

Up next, we explore how to make family time outdoors, both fun and safe.

Today we’re joined by Nadji Kirby, the Senior Program Manager for Domestic Road Safety at Safe Kids worldwide. Thank you for speaking with us today.

Nadji Kirby: Hi there, thank you for having me.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: We recently did an episode on car seat safety and the importance of ensuring the use of proper car seats and how to stay safe while traveling inside of the car.

And now we want to take that car safety conversation outside of the car and talk about pedestrian safety and how to keep our kiddos safe while playing outside or taking walks. So let’s talk first about like taking walks, crossing streets, this might be a really silly first question, [00:02:00] but is there a right way to cross the street?

Nadji Kirby: There is a right way I believe to cross the street, we really encourage people to use the crosswalks and traffic signals as their guide. You know, when we are walking, of course, parents are kind of the first role model that a child has in learning to cross the street and we want to teach the kids to look left, right, and left again, you know, and to keep looking when crossing.

But it really is to keep you safe is to utilize the safety devices that are there, those being the crosswalks and the traffic signals. So we always want people to use those and cross at those intersections.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: So for our toddlers, they can get pretty adamant when they want to walk on their own, when they don’t want to hold hands, or when they want to push their stroller

instead of ride in the stroller. Do you have any tips for parents who might cross the street with their kids walking beside them and at what age can children cross the street by themselves?

Nadji Kirby: So I think the important [00:03:00] thing is to reiterate the safety importance to your child, which I know sometimes with the little ones can be more difficult for them to understand that importance.

But for some, if it’s that they don’t want to hold your hand and maybe they’re holding the side of the stroller or, you know, just something that is still close to you and that they always have to be touching to be close to you to keep that element of safety with you. And then as far as judging your kids, we usually say, that children can cross the street alone at about the age of 10.

And that’s just a developmental piece where that’s the age when generally children can gauge speed of the traffic. And so that’s why they kind of use that age. But again, that’s up to every parent individually, you know, you know how your child’s development level, so it really just depends on what you and your child are comfortable with.

But usually around the age of 10 is when children can judge speed.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: That is so interesting I don’t even think that I would’ve ever thought that that’s part of the ability to [00:04:00] determine whether or not you can, you know, cross the street safely is how we are unaware of all that we are doing in our brain to determine that safety and being able to know how fast a car is going and whether or not you have time to cross or not cross.

I would’ve never even thought of that.

Nadji Kirby: Yeah. So that’s just important then. And again, you know, it’s based on the parent and the child’s comfort level and their level of development. And also as your kids are growing, it’s, you know, to teach them also, when they’re crossing with other friends, you know, we have kids in the neighborhood and, you know, and all the kids are in the neighborhood and that

we say is a safe space, generally your neighborhood, but when the kids are crossing together, as a reminder to them, you know, even though you’re with everyone else, it’s still your responsibility, you know, to cross safely and to make sure that you’re crossing safely.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: So one of our favorite family activities is taking walks after dinner and it’s getting darker earlier

now that it’s fall, so what should we do to make sure that we stay safe when [00:05:00] we’re outside when it’s dark, and we’re just like walking around on the sidewalk ,around our neighborhood, is there anything specific to do or to think about based on the time of day that you’re outside?

Nadji Kirby: Absolutely at dusk, dawn, when it gets dark, the important thing is to wear bright colored clothing or something reflective.

And that is so that cars can see you easily. A lot of time when it gets to winter, especially in the winter months, people for whatever reason, tend to wear darker clothing and that is you know, unsafe to do, so you want to make sure that you wear something bright and reflective. You know, and that can even be, you know, reflectors on your hat or reflectors on your shoes.

A lot of shoes, especially children’s shoes a lot of these days come, you know, with reflective things on it, but you just want to make sure that you’re bright and reflective or bring a flashlight. A lot of times, I know I walk my dog and we’ll have a flashlight that just shines down on the ground. So you just want to make sure that there’s something that makes cars aware that you are there. And again, there’s [00:06:00] just the important things to make sure you’re crossing, you know, using the cross walks and signals, just because those are places where cars are expecting to see pedestrians.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Are there any specific tips for parents to help increase child safety when in parking lots? I know that this can be a huge place for distractions, both for drivers, as well as parents, whether that’s loading groceries into cars or getting multiple children out of the car, out of their car seats and seat belts,

are there any specific tips when managing traffic safety in those situations?

Nadji Kirby: Sure in parking lots, you want to be extra vigilant. And I think especially around these days, when the holiday season starts, you know, they’re going to be shopping center, grocery store parking lots that are super busy. And so you just want to, as a driver kind of, you know, watch out for the distracted pedestrians. As a pedestrian, you know, watching out for the drivers who may not be paying attention. People are looking for spaces, empty spaces, but you also want to be careful to watch out for cars that are [00:07:00] backing out of parking spaces.

So again, I think that’s important that you’re holding hands with your littlest to make sure that they’re not, you know, moving in directions that they shouldn’t just because there is so many things happening in a parking lot all the time. And that does tend to be a place where many accidents do happen. So just a reminder to extra alert in parking lots, because there can be so many moving pieces,


Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: So for the moms and dads who might take public transportation with their kiddos, how can they stay safe when getting on buses or here in Arizona, we have the Light Rail, is there anything specific to be aware of when doing public transportation?

Nadji Kirby: Sure again, it’s just being aware of your surroundings and standing back behind, you know, most platforms have, you know, the line where you should remain behind it to stay safe away from the trains as they’re coming into the station and getting on the train, you know, and getting seated or making sure that you’re holding on to the rails to prevent

injuries while the train is in [00:08:00] motion. So those are just some things to be aware of your surroundings and just making sure that you’re following all the rules on the platform. I know many platforms kind of have signs and reminders of things that you should use so you just want to make sure that you’re following all of those.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Where can parents go to get more information and tips?

Nadji Kirby: We have a parent guide that provides tips on all areas of safety at home, on the road and at play. We have a family activity book and various tip sheets and fact sheets. So, you know, if there’s ever something that there’s a question or thinking of, please feel free to visit our Safe Kids website, which is,

and hopefully you will have the information that you need.

Jessica Stewart-Gonzalez: Visit our episode show notes for helpful resources and additional information. While you’re there, make sure to give us a follow on your favorite podcast app. And because we can all use the little parenting help, feel free to share the episode with the [00:09:00] moms or expecting moms in your life. Until next time,

this is Jessica. You’ve got this, Mom.

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