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Is Your Kid Old Enough to Cross the Street Alone? A New Study Says No

The safe age for kids to cross the street without you is a lot older than you think, the research says


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©istockphoto.com / SerrNovik

Think your kid’s old enough to cross the street without you watching him? Researchers say not so fast. According to a recent study from the University of Iowa, kids younger than 14  lack the perception and physical skills to cross the street safely on a consistent basis.

Researchers used simulated (but realistic) scenarios to test how well kids ages 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 could cross the street. According to the study, only 14-year-olds were able to get across busy roads without issue on a regular basis.

Sobering statistics back up the study’s research. In 2014, there were 8,000 injuries and 207 deaths involving motor vehicles and pedestrians 14 and younger in the US, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

It’s never too early to talk to your kids about how to safely cross the street if an adult isn’t around. Remind them to:

  • look both left and right before crossing.

  • make sure they aren’t texting or wearing headphones that are turned on.

  • always cross at a street corner or a crosswalk.

For more safety tips, head to safekids.org.

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