A tragedy happened Sunday in Spanish Fork, Utah, that cost a five-year-old boy his life. Authorities say the boy was among 3 young children who were playing around the tracks on a Sunday when the train passed by at about 40 m.p.h. (USA Today, 11-11-2014, p. 4A) The articles I read did not make it clear whether the boy was on the tracks or just near them. But either way, reminding our kids how dangerous train tracks can be is a necessary part of teaching them.
Many children (and adults) assume that trains stay "on the tracks.” But many train car loads -- and freight trains especially -- can hang as far as 10 or 15 feet off the side of the tracks in either direction. Adding to the danger, some cars on the train may be wider than others. Also, remind them that trains cannot stop as fast as a car stops. So make sure your kids know of these dangers and understand that they need to stay well away from the train tracks whenever a train is approaching.