Crossing Guard Safety

August 25, 2016

Now that school is in full swing, crossing guards are out in full force helping children safely make their way to school. School crossing guards play an important role in the lives of children who walk and bicycle to school. Their help reassures parents and reminds drivers to yield to pedestrians. What’s more, they serve as an important role model for the children they protect. Follow these safety procedures to be sure you’re taking every measure to keep children – and yourself – safe at the crosswalk.

Search Pattern

Use the following search pattern for crossing a street and encourage student pedestrians to follow the same steps.

  1. Stop at the curb.
  2. Look left, right then left again for traffic.
  3. If you are at an intersection, look over your shoulder for vehicles turning.
  4. Walk across the street at a consistent pace and continue to scan while crossing.

Signaling Traffic

The best way to alert traffic to activity at school crossings is a “stop” paddle. However, many jurisdictions also allow clear hand signals alone or in conjunction with the “stop” paddle.

The proper hand signal to stop traffic requires you to raise your arm forward and toward traffic, parallel to the ground with palm and fingers flexed upward. White or bright orange gloves help attract drivers’ attention.

Unsignalized Crosswalks

When a crosswalk does not have signals, it is your responsibility to determine when children cross based on gaps in traffic. Follow these guidelines:

  • Stand near the curb on the side from which children are approaching.
  • Stop children a safe distance from the curb. Instruct them to wait for your signal.
  • Instruct children on bicycles, scooters or skateboards to dismount and cross as a pedestrian.
  • Wait for a gap in traffic.
  • Face the closest oncoming vehicle and make eye contact with the driver.
  • Walk to the center of the street with the “stop” paddle held high. If there are more than two lanes, alert additional lanes one at a time.
  • Face opposite approaching traffic and make eye contact.
  • Stand at the center of the street and ensure all traffic has stopped.
  • Face the children, and instruct them to cross and look left-right-left while proceeding across the marked crosswalk.
  • Remain in the street until all students have reached the opposite curb.
  • Walk back to the curb with the “stop” paddle held high the entire way. Lower it when you have reached the curb.
  • Remain near the curb for the next group of children.

Signalized Crosswalks

Work with administrators to establish whether the signal at your assigned crosswalk provides enough time for you to stand at the center of the street while students cross the crosswalk. If it doesn’t, ask your local committee to assign more guards or add more time to the signal; alternatively, you could escort students across the street and return to your starting position on the next signal cycle. Follow these steps to ensure safe crossing.

  • Stand on the curb from which children are approaching.
  • Stop children a safe distance from the curb, and instruct them to cross only on your signal.
  • Teach children riding bicycles, scooters or skateboards to dismount and walk across the street as a pedestrian.
  • Enter the street only with a “walk” signal, with the “stop” paddle held high. Stand on the crosswalk line closest to the intersection.
  • Face oncoming traffic and make eye contact with drivers attempting to turn.
  • Verbally instruct students to begin scanning left-right-left and over the shoulder, and cross when clear.
  • Instruct students to continue walking if the signal changes to “don’t walk,” but not to start crossing at this time.
  • Wait for children to reach the opposite side of the street.
  • Return to the curb with the “stop” paddle held high.

Two or More Guards

When there are four or more lanes, two guards are required. Each stands on the crosswalk line closest to the approaching traffic for that side of the street, between approaching traffic and students. Guards should take the following precautions.

  • One guard should stop one direction of traffic, while the other controls opposite lanes.
  • To coordinate signaling, the guard on the side of the street from which children are approaching makes decisions, with the second guard taking cues from the first guard.
  • Guards should not cross students during a left turn signal when the “don’t walk” signal flashes and should ensure all vehicles turning right yield.
  • More than two guards may be necessary at a major intersection where children must cross two or more legs of the intersection.


In the event of an emergency, stay at your post, keep control of the situation and follow these procedures.

  1. Stop crossing children.
  2. Group children away from the street.
  3. Stay with the group of children away from the street to be sure they don’t scatter.
  4. Ask several people to call 911.
  5. Do not move a victim unless they are in serious and immediate danger of being struck by a vehicle.
  6. Use a vehicle to block the victim from traffic, a distance away so if struck, would not endanger rescue workers.
  7. Notify a supervisor as soon as possible.
  8. When emergency vehicles arrive, keep children a safe distance away

If you would like to know more information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones contact Shepherd Insurance today.


Source: Zywave, Inc.