Keeping children safe from the dangers of traffic on the roads continues to be a major issue for parents. Although there are many good drivers out there, there are also plenty of erratic ones and accidents involving children and the roads can happen worryingly quickly. As a parent, you can do a lot to help your child learn about road safety issues, and how to react when they’re around traffic and busy roads.
Teaching Children About Road Safety
One of the important lessons to teach children is about road safety. It’s never too early to start talking about roads and vehicles and the importance of taking care when Walking Near Roads. Don’t just teach them about the dangers – show them what the problems are, why they’re a problem and what to do about it.
There are plenty of books that you can read with younger children and act out the ideas of crossing the road safely. As your kids get older, you can start to put the ideas into action and begin crossing the road together and learning how to read the traffic lights.
Teaching the famous Green Cross Code and learning to ‘Stop, look and listen,’ before crossing the road is important too, and something that all children should learn to understand. It’s also helpful to discuss how to go about finding a safe place on the road to cross, the importance of not walking out behind parked vehicles or buses, and of understanding the speed at which vehicles can travel. The more you walk with your children and help them learn about road safety issues, the better.
Walking to School
It’s great for children’s health and fitness if you can walk to school with them, or for older children, walk to school on their own. For many parents, and especially those living in very built up areas with extremely busy roads, it’s hard to know when is an appropriate time at which children should be allowed to walk to school on their own, without adult supervision. You want to help protect your child, but you don’t want to over-protect them.
As a general rule of thumb, children should be capable of walking to school on their own by the time they reach secondary school age, or 11 years old. In some cases, if the walk isn’t too far or near exceptionally busy roads, then they may be able to walk on their own at a slightly earlier age than this, but it’s up to you.
By the age of 11, children should be very familiar with how to cross roads safely and be able to make their own judgements regarding where it’s safe to cross the road. They should feel confident in their abilities too, and not want mum or dad hanging around at the school gates waiting to escort them home (they might, however, be keener to see you if you’re picking them up in a car).