Once he recognizes the stop sign, he can understand it in any language.

Simple Safety Signs to Teach Non Reading Children

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

When your little one is out and about with you, you can teach him how to spot safety signs so he can stay safe. In addition to common street signs, help him watch for other safety signs he could see at the theater, grocery store or church. Once he is aware of the safety signs, don’t be surprised if he spots them before you do so he can keep you safe, too.

1. Pedestrian Signs

Pedestrian signs help your preschooler know where it’s safe to walk, although looking both ways is necessary, even when she has the right of way. Point out the white crosswalk lines at an intersection so she knows where to cross the street with you. Help her locate the “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” sign, including the ones with a figure of a man walking or a hand up to indicate she should wait to cross the street. Remind her, “If the 'don’t walk' or 'hand up' sign appears and begins to blink while you’re crossing the street, hurry across the street. Don’t stop in the middle of the street.” If you live near a school zone, point out the crossing guard and her stop sign that ensures kids can safely cross the street.

2. Traffic Signs

Traffic lights are common sights on streets. Remind your child, “Red means stop, green means go and yellow means be careful and ready to stop.” Point out the octagonal stop sign and remind him to stop, even if he is walking, skating or riding his bike. He might be less familiar with the triangular “yield” sign that reminds him to stop and let others get past him, “Do not enter” signs that mean he should stay out and “one way” signs that tell him which way traffic is moving. Help him identify railroad crossing signs and ensure that he knows never to cross the tracks if the arms are down or when he can see a train moving on the tracks.

3. Hazard Signs

Yellow signs can indicate a hazard, so remind your child, “Always pay attention to yellow signs with black letters. If you don’t know what it means, ask.” You can point out the “slippery when wet” sign that looks like a man falling or the diamond-shaped sign with a black cross that indicates she should use caution when coming to an intersection. She could see yellow caution tape around an open hole or at a television crime scene. Remind her to stay away from the tape, even if she can’t see why it’s there.

4. Security Signs

Your preschooler can probably easily recognize bathroom security signs and tell which one he should enter, although you might make him go into the women’s bathroom with you when you are alone with him. Point out the “entrance” and “exit” sign that help him find his way out of a building. You could point out that “entrance” and “exit” signs are usually lighted to help him find his way, even in the dark.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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