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In an age of tablets, smartphones and laptops, it is getting more and more important that children get some sort of exercise, especially outside. But with THINK! reporting that an average of 6 children between the ages of 5 and 7 are being killed or seriously injured on Britain's road EVERY WEEK, and that 73% of children aged between 5 and 7 seriously injured or killed in 2014 were on foot at the time, it is vitally important that we teach our children the fundamentals of road safety as soon as possible to avoid them becoming a statistic.

It is important to teach them:

  • That there are safe places to cross roads such as puffin and pelican pedestrian crossings, zebra crossings, traffic island crossings, footbridges and subways
  • The basics of road safety in stopping, looking and listening
  • That finding a safe place to cross, preferably away from parked cars, bends or junctions, is vitally important, as is making sure that road users can see them
  • That at that age, they should not be crossing the road on their own. They should be holding your hand, stopping at the kerb and waiting, looking for cars coming on BOTH sides of the road, and listening for it too, before crossing and STILL holding your hand

Green Cross Code

As old as it may seem to us all, the Green Cross Code is still as vitally important today as it was back in 1970 when it was introduced.

  • THINK! Find the safest place to cross, then stop.
  • STOP! Stand on the pavement near the kerb.
  • USE YOUR EYES AND EARS! Look all around for traffic, and listen.
  • WAIT UNTIL IT'S SAFE TO CROSS! If traffic is coming, let it pass.
  • LOOK AND LISTEN! When it's safe, walk straight across the road.
  • ARRIVE ALIVE! Keep looking and listening

Do as I Do; Not Just as I Say

 Kids copy adults. There is no getting away from the fact, and if you cross between parked cars when with the kids, or take a chance and dash across a road without looking or listening, they will copy you.

And DON'T be on a mobile phone when crossing either. 

So if you set a good example, and cross the road safely and correctly, hopefully they will follow that example.

And you can also help, even when driving, by pointing out dangerous actions and places when in the car, even to the extent of making a game of a 'fun' quiz about what the children should do in certain circumstances.

Children aren't good at telling how fast vehicles are travelling (unless they are going really fast), so maybe get them to guess how fast a vehicle is travelling as you go along, or wait in traffic. Get them to guess what is coming up behind a large vehicle like a bus or a lorry, and even teach them road signs. 

Mobile Children

You can't have failed to notice the increasing numbers of schoolchildren making their (happy?) way to and from school on bikes and scooters, the younger ones controlled by parents often trying to catch up.

Normally this mobile activity takes place on paths through parks, but increasingly along back streets and main roads, and this means that car drivers often have to have eyes everywhere at this time.

It is important that, if your child is riding a small bike, scooter or tricycle at a young age, you keep close to them, and don't let them shoot off in front of you. They often find it difficult to stop, and can also topple over into the road due to a lack of balance or uneven pavement, so keep them close or, even better push the bike or scooter until you are somewhere safer.

When it comes to older children, make sure that they understand road safety, and the importance of the Green Cross Code. Teach them to stop at every junction, and, of course, always wear a helmet.

Education

Many schools these days teach children about Road Safety with Road Safety Week often one of the focal points when it happens every year in November, with schools and colleges utilising the information given out by Brake, organisers of the event.

In fact, Brake offer a PDF sheet that can be used by teachers and parents alike that can be downloaded here and is suitable for children of all ages.

But in the end, it is down to us parents to teach children to stay safe on the road, and on the pavements that frame the roads.

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