Learning about road safety is one of the most crucial lessons in early life. By teaching your children the importance of road safety and setting a good example when it comes to crossing and navigating the roads as a pedestrian, you could not only help to keep your kids safe but also save their lives. Over the last few decades, we’ve seen a marked reduction of deaths on the road and an increasing awareness of effective road safety strategies designed to help save lives – but what can you do to instil road safety awareness in your children and keep them safe from an early age?
Why is Road Safety for Children Important? – There is more traffic on the roads than ever – whether you’re raising your child in a built-up urban environment or a rural area, it’s essential that they’re made aware of the risks associated with cars, buses, motorbikes, and bicycles. Younger children tend to have more difficulty determining the distance and speed of approaching vehicles, are less visible to drivers and are more likely to try and make a crossing at an inaccessible or dangerous location. As children grow older and are given more freedom, they’re likely to be out and about on the roads by themselves – it’s essential that your child is well-versed in road safety rules and capable of assessing potential hazards from an early age to minimise the risk of becoming involved in a serious accident.
Leading Cause of Brain Injury – While the roads have undoubtedly become safer over the years, road and traffic accidents are still a leading cause of brain injury amongst young children and teens. Whereas around 50% of all serious head injuries in the UK can be attributed to road traffic accidents, children are significantly more likely to become involved in an accident on the road, with an average of 188 children killed or seriously injured on the roads in the period 2019-2021.
Tips to instil road safety in children – Always hold the hand of younger children and teach them to walk on the side of the footpath that’s furthest away from the road. Try to help them understand basic road signs (such as zebra crossing markers) and traffic light systems from an early age. When it comes to crossing roads, teach your children to first choose a safe location to cross – this should be away from corners, hills, parked cars, and other objects than could impede visibility. Once they’ve picked a safe spot, teach your child to stop, listen for the sound engines and look both ways before crossing – they should only cross when the path is free from approaching vehicles and they’ve double-checked both left and right. Teach your children that it’s always better to use traffic lights or a zebra crossing to cross the road, and ensure that they’re wearing light or reflective clothing, especially when walking at night.
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