Mom Whose Toddler Almost Hit by Bus Has Too Many Excuses

busLast week a Portland bus driver saved a little 2-year-old girl who had wandered out of her apartment and into an intersection. EEEEK! It was a rainy morning when the driver saw a "little pink thing" flash in front of him. He slammed on the brakes and kept the bus blocking traffic while a passenger moved the girl to safety.

Little Cindy Lou Who (not her real name) was wearing pajamas and rain boots. And where was mom when all this happened? The first floor of the family's apartment had flooded, so the family was moving upstairs when the girl escaped. That's a reasonable excuse, I guess. At any rate, I feel for the mother dealing with a flood and a bolting toddler. But there's something she could have taught her daughter that might have prevented the whole incident: She should have done her Toddler Traffic Training.

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We live in a city, so as soon as our son figured out how to walk, we started the traffic training. We spend a lot of time out on the sidewalk -- we don't own a car, and we walk almost everywhere, so it was a priority for us. We couldn't keep him in the stroller at all times -- once the little guy learned to walk, he really wanted to walk. And we wanted him to live.

So we started out holding his hands on the sidewalk and pointing out the cars. Since DEATH is kind of an abstract idea to toddlers, we told him getting hit by a car would hurt -- a lot. "The WORST OUCHIE ever, ever, ever!!!" That made sense to him. He became the kind of street-wise toddler who never darts into traffic.

Our friend's daughter was another story. She was a wild thing who wouldn't listen. She would run in any direction the second her feet hit the pavement. But because she had received her Toddler Traffic Training and had proven herself unqualified for a "sidewalk license," her mom knew to keep her buckled into her stroller -- or at least under close watch.

Any kind of toddler training is usually a form of parent training, too. I'm sure the Portland toddler's mother will never make the same mistake again. Next time there's an emergency like this, she'll find someone to watch her daughter -- or maybe she'll squeeze her daughter into a baby carrier. But I hope they have a few conversations about keeping safe around traffic.

Have you Traffic-Trained your toddler? How did you do it?

 

Image via joshua_putnam/Flickr

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