“Hold my hand, come on sweetie, quick, there’s a car coming, look, OK now look both ways, annnnnd is it safe? Yes. OK keep holding mummies hand darling until we’ve reached the other side, now we can cross safely…well done, good work.” Welcome to the school run. Almost every kid in town is treated to their own personalised rendition each morning. Wouldn’t it be useful to have a top five road safety tips to teach your little tyke? There are many more than five of course, but just teaching them the basics for now is a great start, and we can help. Check out our top five child road safety tips for the at-a-glance essential refreshers you need.
- Teach your child about traffic lights
Children will instinctively follow wherever they are led by their parent or guardian. In the rush hour dash to drop the kids off at school and make it to work on time, parents can often forget that their child may be crossing at traffic lights every day, but may not have the slightest clue what a red light or a green light means. Teach your child to notice the colour being displayed. Knowing when is their time to cross can help your child to feel more comfortable at the road side, instead of waiting to be dragged across the road abruptly, which can often trigger our second point…
- Don’t run
Children who do not understand road crossings are more likely to be startled by a sudden tug of the arm or a shout to cross the road when you have declared it safe to do so. This will often result in a mad sprint, as your child throws themselves into obeying. However, rushing on roads can lead to trips and falls, which could lead to further accidents if a careless driver were to run a red light. Additionally, teach them how to cross a road even if they don’t understand road crossing signs. For instance, if the crossing is equipped with a retractable steel bollard post, let them know that they can cross the road when the post is up. That way, kids can remember by looking at the bollard post, which can be intriguing for them.
- Don’t cross on a bend
The next three points form a sort of collective triple whammy of good road safety advice. The first point is never cross on a bend. Even sensible drivers who may know the area and slow their speed around schools and built-up areas may find that their stopping distance is significantly affected on bends, where there is a natural blind spot.
- Use the dedicated crossing
Teach your child to use pedestrian crossings wherever available. Road crossings are often placed where they are most needed, in areas where road traffic is likely to be heavy at certain times. If there is a pedestrian crossing available, teach your children that this must mean the area is potentially dangerous, and that the crossing has been put in place for child road safety. Kids will love the idea of using something that has been installed especially for them.
- Be seen
Last but by no means least in our run down of child road safety is BE SEEN. This can often mean wearing bright or reflective clothing, and using pedestrian crossings. But what do you do when you are not wearing bright clothes? And what happens if there is no pedestrian crossing? Teach your child to be seen anyway that they can. Hold a hand up to oncoming traffic if necessary – even holding an umbrella or a school bag aloft can help.
Why not promote child road safety at school or in the work place? If you are a parent who is passionate about keeping your little one safe on the roads – and that’s all of us – then look into warning signs and posters that can ordered online and hung in easy to see areas such as meeting rooms, school gates, and in school halls.