Children’s road safety – smart steps to take to ensure your child is safe

Mum & Son Image via Flickr by GabrielaP93For mothers, few things rival the anguish, shock and devastation that comes with that phone call telling you about your child being involved in an accident, or having a minor crash while out and about in your car and being badly injured.

Figures tell us that over the past year, over 15,756 children were affected (injured or killed) by road mishaps. That is a 9% drop in the 2012 figures but still a huge number.

Some of these accidents can be prevented but unfortunately, many mothers have to face this dire scenario because they did not take adequate steps to forestall its occurrence. What are these steps?

Tips for safety of babies and very young children

As a mother, you need to focus on teaching road awareness as soon as the child is able to understand. Talk over the concept of road safety as you walk down the road with your children to the park, or to school.

If you drive out with them in the car regularly, it is very important, and legally required, that you get baby car seats or booster seats. These are life savers but they won’t do much if they are not properly fitted. If you are struggling with the fit then ask for help, or get the shop you bought the seat from to show you how to do it. Many retailers have an installation service, which is worth it to know that the seat is installed properly.

Some additional tips:

  • Always hold your child’s hand tightly as you cross the road if they can walk. Even if they can walk, consider carrying him or her when possible.
  • Never allow the child get out of the car alone and always make sure you get them out on the pavement side.
  • While out with your child at night, makes sure you put them in bright and easy to see clothing

As a mother, you need to focus on teaching road awareness as soon as the child is able to understand. Talk over the concept of road safety as you walk down the road with your children to the park, or to school.

Tips for children of primary age

Fortunately, the personal, social and health education curriculum (PSHE) in primary schools includes basic road safety and schools are doing their bit to increase the time spent teaching this topic. However, the fastest way to get your child to understand what is taught is to use practical examples. You can do this yourself or ask Local Road Safety Officers to help.

Remind your child that it is possible for a driver to not see them while they are crossing a road without traffic controls and that they need to watch out for this

Tips for older children

This is the group that is most at risk. They travel to school either on their own or in the company of friends and this makes them even more vulnerable to the dangers of the road.

  • Before your child takes his cycle onto the main road for the first time, ensure he has completed a cycling proficiency course. This is necessary even if you have spent time cycling with them yourself!
  • Many children have been saved from more severe injuries thanks to these helmets so make sure they wear one at all times; wear one yourself to set an example. As a recognition of their importance, children’s cycle helmets are VAT free.
Important points you must constantly remind your children of
  • Pedestrians must stay on the pavement until all traffic from both directions has stopped. Only when traffic has stopped can they cross
  • Remind your child that it is possible for a driver to not see them while they are crossing a road without traffic controls and that they need to watch out for this
  • Remind them of the dangers of riding or walking along the road with music plugged in and at high volume. Music should be played at a low volume and while crossing the road, earphones must always be unplugged
  • Educate them on the need for bright clothes during the day and reflective materials at night; this ensures they are visible to motorists
  • Remind them to always use a zebra crossing or light-controlled crossing when there is one
  • Ensure they understand how to cross roads and stress that they should never cross from between parked cars

With these tips, the chances of your child being involved in a road traffic accident are greatly reduced.

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