Did you know that 23rd May is Walking Safe to School Day?
From a very young age, it’s vital that we teach our kids the dangers of traffic, and how they can stay safe around roads.
While walking to school is a great way for kids to get some exercise, and to potentially spend time bonding with a parent or siblings, it’s also important to be vigilant around busy roads – especially when rushing to get to school on time, or home for after-school commitments.
To help, here are some tips for walking safely to and from school:
1. Try to always accompany primary school children
For obvious reasons, young children are less aware of the dangers surrounding roads, and are also more likely to be distracted. While your children are at primary school, it’s wise to accompany them as much as you can – both to and from school. If you can’t do it yourself, perhaps you could arrange for a babysitter to pick them up, or even to arrange a pick-up or drop-off schedule with a group of mums from the same school, who live in the same area.
2. Plan your route
Before the school year begins, work out the best possible route to school – one that involves the least (or the safest) road crossings. Walk the route with your child, reinforcing potential hazards, and where they need to be particularly careful. Every time you walk the route, point out the same things so your child becomes very aware.
3. Sibling safety
If you have more than one child attending the same school, encourage them to walk together and to always be mindful of each other’s safety. Get the older child to insist on holding the younger child’s hand when crossing the road.
4. Reinforce road safety rules
It’s important to continually teach – and remind – your children about key road safety rules:
Always cross the road at traffic lights or pedestrian crossings, where possible. If not available, always check right, left and right again before walking out.
Don’t ever cross a road between parked cars.
Never step out from behind any vehicle, such as a bus, where you can’t see the oncoming traffic.
Never, ever chase an object – such as a ball or a balloon – onto the road.
5. Always walk on the footpath
If there is a section where there is no footpath available, walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic rather than having the traffic behind you.
6. Stop at driveways
Encourage children to stop and look whenever they pass a driveway. This is particularly important if they’re riding a scooter or bike on their way to school.
7. Lead by example
As a parent, the most important thing that you can do for your kids is to always follow the road rules, and be sure to lead by example.