(StatePoint) It’s never too early to start teaching your children about traffic safety.

Traffic accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 12 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To help keep families safe, NHTSA has teamed up with the animated, preschool television show “Chuggington” to launch the national “Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!” campaign. The program offers free resources to help parents and kids learn important safety lessons from engaging characters and take a safety pledge online to earn a traffic safety badge.

Here are some traffic safety tips for you and your children to remember.

Car Safety

Everyone should use seat belts, and children should always be in a properly fitted car seat. Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size that fits in your vehicle. Keep your child in the car seat as long as they are within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements and in the back seat until age 12.

When reversing out of parking spaces, drivers should be on alert for small children and parents should always hold their child’s hand and watch for speeding. And while it may be convenient to leave a trunk open when loading or unloading items, children are naturally curious and may get trapped inside if left unattended. So be sure to teach your child that trunks are for cargo, not hide-and-seek.

School Bus Safety

Children should always wait with an adult at the school bus stop and at least five giant steps away from the curb. Parents should instruct children to always sit facing front and obey the school bus driver.

When disembarking, instruct children to take five giant steps away from the school bus. Then look left, right, and left again and wait for the signal from the driver before crossing the street.

Bike Safety

Make sure your and your child’s bike helmets sit low across the forehead with no more than two finger-widths above the eyebrow. And make sure the chin strap is buckled snugly. Children should also ride on bike paths or sidewalks; never in the streets.

In low-light conditions, make sure that you and your children wear brightly colored clothing and reflective materials. Everyone’s bike should be equipped with a white front light (which is required by law in most states) and a red rear light.

For help in teaching your children these lifesaving safety skills, check out NHTSA and Chuggington’s Traffic Safety Program at www.chuggington.com/safety , where you can find tips, activities and a safety pledge you and your child can take together.

By engaging your children in safety activities and games, you give them the knowledge and lifelong tools to help them stay safe.



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