Roads are not safe places. Children need help to learn how to cross the road safely. As a parent, if you can demonstrate how to do the right thing, it will help children get into good habits. Your good habits of crossing the road safely can become theirs. Children learn by watching others, especially you, as their parent or guardian. Children will copy what you do, so try to avoid stepping into the road without making it obvious you are checking if it is safe to cross first. Younger children need lots of handholding and supervision. The street can be a distracting place for them, with lots of sights and sounds. Every child is different, and the risks involved in different journeys to school also vary. Before deciding if your child is ready to walk to school independently, observe their behaviour around roads and do not allow them to walk to and from school without an adult until you are confident, they are ready, especially after the age of ten.
In order to enhance the safety of children on our roads, we have shared some of the most important tips you need to remember:
v The first port of call is to obey all traffic signs and signals.
v Before moving a vehicle in a driveway, check that no child is behind, in front of, or around the vehicle. Do not rely only on car cameras and sensors. Always do a visual check around the vehicle.
v Encourage kids to be especially alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
v Teach kids not to run, dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.
v If kids are walking when it is dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light or brightly-coloured clothing and reflective gear.
v Never leave young children alone to play near parked or moving vehicles in driveways. In this regard, it is advisable to separate your child’s play areas from driveways. For example, you could fence off the driveway or garage so your child can not run towards it.
v Get into the habit of waving goodbye to people from inside your home or another safe spot.
v Hold your child’s hand when crossing roads together and wherever there is traffic. Explain why it is important for your child to hold your hand.
v Take special care where there is heavy traffic, high-speed traffic, narrow or non-existent footpaths, or things that block the view, like parked cars and trucks, trees, hill crests, or crowded footpaths.
v Always cross at pedestrian crossings or corners, wait for the lights, and look in every direction to check there are no cars coming. To help your child understand when and where it is safe to cross, develop a habit of clearly explaining what you are doing. Your child must understand the safety implications of pedestrian behaviour. Let your actions speak as loudly as your words; be a good role model.
v Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones, and other devices down when walking around cars. When driving, put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until your final destination.
v Keep talking about road safety as your child gets older.
v Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
v Be especially alert and slow down when driving in residential neighbourhoods and school zones.
v As a driver, always give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to spot any bikers, walkers, or runners who may not be immediately visible.
Child pedestrian safety is indeed an important parental concern once children develop more mobility and independence. It is important to remember that a child’s readiness to cope safely in traffic on their own depends on their development and how much practice they have had around real roads and traffic. Your child must be able to pay attention to vehicles on the road and work out how far away they are and how fast they are approaching. As a general guide, your child is ready to navigate roads safely on their own when they know and understand road safety rules. Children also need to understand that even though they must follow the road rules, some negligent drivers may not always follow the rules. In order to ensure that every child receives adequate road safety knowledge, TSCZ is rehabilitating existing and constructing new Traffic Training Centres (TTCs) across the country. One of the major objectives of the TTCs is to shape children’s understanding of and attitudes towards road safety, and to help give them the best chance of staying safe while they are young and as they get older. If good habits are established when the children are still young, it is likely that they will grow up to become responsible road users.
Inserted by TSCZ, Operations Research and Marketing Section
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