Near Misses & Tragedies
I’ve been noticing many near misses with young children, unattended or under-attended, who cross the street without having enough time to make
it to the other side. Many children also cross the street diagonally, which adds to the danger, since they are in the street longer.
Tonight, I saw two mothers pushing their strollers with small children by their side. Two of the younger children in the group ran ahead and one of them was actually in the dark street, at an intersection, with cars flying by. The mother didn’t even shout out – since she didn’t notice. I yelled for the child to go back on the sidewalk (from a distance of 100 meters away). The mother was still oblivious, engrossed in conversation with her friend.
The other night, I saw a child, possibly 10 yrs old, playing ‘chicken’ with a bus. He crossed the street slowly, and saw the bus was coming. Instead of hurrying up to the other side, he slowly walked to require the bus to either slow down or swerve. I know the kid was doing this on purpose, since I saw the smirk on his face as he crossed. The bus drivers, for their part, are always in a rush to make their schedules. Yes, they should be more careful. But we cannot rely on them. We must train our children to be defensive.
We also cannot rely on miracles. Yes, Hashem (G-d) watches over us, even the foolish amongst us, but we cannot rely on His mercies to extricate our children from these constant dangers! I don’t have to list here the statistics of children (and adult) pedestrians who have been killed in Israel in the past decade for us to know that this is a real issue.
Advice For Every Family
1. Review with your children the safety rules for crossing the road. Look both ways, look again, cross only at a crosswalk, cross with adults, etc…
2. Experts recommend for children 8 years old and younger to be crossed only by an adult.
3. Never, ever, cross diagonally.
4. If you see a bus or car coming, do not assume they will stop for you. If you are already in the crosswalk and a bus is coming, run or walk very quickly to the other side of the street.
5. Tell your kids you love them and want them to come home safely. Explain to them they’ve been given a big responsibility and should always be very careful.
Let’s hope for a safe future for us all.