Skip to main content

Slow down, more kids are playing!
Tips to keep outdoor play safe

With the school year ending and travel restrictions starting to ease, a new BCAA survey reveals that many British Columbians are worried that increased traffic and more kids playing outside could be a recipe for disaster.

In the BCAA survey, conducted by Insights West, 79% of British Columbians expect more kids playing in groups near roads and 56% are worried about the potential for injuries or worse. Since COVID, British Columbians say that they have witnessed more dangerous play in their neighbourhoods. Specifically, 21% have noticed more kids paying less attention to the road, 23% have witnessed a child run out without checking for traffic and 13% have witnessed or heard about a near miss with a child almost being hit.

BCAA asks drivers to slow down and watch out for kids on residential streets. Parents and guardians can also do their part by setting a good example. Here are some tips to keep kids safe when playing or riding bikes around the neighbourhood:

  • Talk to your kids about road safety and not playing on or near the road. Supervise younger kids and check-in frequently even with older kids.
  • Teach your kids to ask an adult for help retrieving toys that roll into the street or driveway.
  • Make helmets a rule. Kids (and grown-ups) need to wear them when using anything with wheels. For added safety, add lights and reflectors. Get more cycling safety tips for kids here.
  • Dress your kids in bright, reflective clothing, so they’re easier for drivers to see.
  • Show your kids how to cross the street at an intersection and marked crosswalk. Teach them to wait until the car comes to a full stop, look both ways and make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
  • Remind your kids to never cross the street between parked cars, or in the middle of a street.
  • If there are no sidewalks, kids should walk in a single file, away from the road, facing traffic.

Keeping our kids and neighbourhoods safe is a shared responsibility. To encourage safer, slower driving in residential neighbourhoods, BCAA is offering FREE Slow Down Kids Playing Signs to British Columbians – Members and non-Members alike. When well-placed, these signs remind motorists to pay closer attention to their surroundings when driving through areas where kids are playing.

New this year, BCAA has partnered with the Block Watch Society of BC to make the signs available through more than 30 Block Watch Coordinators in communities across the province.

To get a sign, contact a participating Block Watch Coordinator or drop into a BCAA Auto Service Centre in Kelowna, South Surrey, Nanaimo or Victoria. Learn more here. Signs are available while supplies last and are limited to one per household.