We are in the era of pedestrian crossings and crossing guards, or the lollipop man or lady as we always knew them. We often teach kids to find these safe spots to cross the road but sometimes can neglect to teach them how to cross the road without these safety features. Another aspect of road safety for kidsthat can be literally life-saving involves when they are on their bikes or scooters. Road Safety Week is an annual event held on 23-29th November with the aim of refreshing these crucial matters in all parent’s and kid’s minds.
Road Safety Campaigns and Events
Road Safety Week was established back in 1997 and sees a range of events take place across the country involving schools as well as organisations and community groups. It is coordinated by the group Brake and aims to encourage action on road safety from the very basic levels with the aim of reducing tragedies and making the road safer.
The event looks to promote road safety in a range of ways. This can be looking at safety in a community or even within a specific premises such as a school or youth centre. It can also look at those on the roads the most and refresh their focus on awareness of others around them.
For example, the 2015 event is focused on ‘drive less, live more’ and aims to get people thinking about how they use the roads as well as driving less and using alternative transports means instead. This might be hopping on a bus or train to work, cycling to school or even walking. It ties in with the health benefits as well as the environmental benefits of less cars being on the road. Groups interested in getting involved with the event can get a free action pack through the website at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk
Another major road safety campaign that has been in operation for many years is Think! Through their website, the campaign has a wealth of resources for teachers, kids and parents to help with road safety. These include information depending on the age group of the kids involved for teachers to introduce the topics in the classroom – these are split into under fives, five to seven and over sevens.
The pupils area is separated into the same age groups and has a fun aspect to it. There are five different activities for the kids to get involved with categorised as see, hear, read, do and play. Each has a number of activities within it that can be downloaded to the computer by their parents. There are stories that parents can read to the younger kids learning them road safety in a run and easy to understand way. The older kids have worksheets to do on road safety as well as when they are on their bikes. There is even resources to help them understand why distracting someone driving a car can be so dangerous.
The final section is for parents and groups into 3-5s, 5-7s and the 7 to 11 age group. Parents can also order from the catalogue with a variety of information to use at home with kids to complement what the schools are teaching on the subject and reinforce it.
Importance of Road Safety
One of the oldest campaigns around road safety aimed at kids is the Green Cross Code. The code aims to reduce the numbers of kids hurt or killed on the roads, which currently stands at 19 a week across the country. These are kids under the age of eleven who are seriously hurt or killed and some of these deaths could be stopped by use of the code.
Therefore, parents can do their bit by teaching the green cross code to their kids from the earliest age. Make it part of the road crossing every time to instil into kids these vital safety measures. The code highlights aspects such as:
- Finding a safe place to cross, using subways, footbridges, islands and different types of crossings if there isn’t a crossing patrol or traffic warden in sight. Otherwise, using a place where they can see in all directions and, just as importantly, can be seen by drivers. This means no crossing between parked cars or on sharp bends
- Stopping at the kerb but not too near the edge to leave a little space to look around and be away from the traffic.
- The Stop-Look-Listen message about crossing safety including not to run and to keep watching for all kinds of traffic including bikes and motorcycles
It is also important that adults follow the same code and make sure they set an example for the kids. No nipping between the cars and dashing out into the road when you are with them as young kids copy what adults do and older kids use it as an excuse to do the same!
There are also other sites that offer help for parents as well as resources to use directly with the kids to help get the messages across.
Think! has their own website with a huge amount of information on it as well as the Green Cross Code information and fun things to do with it
Traffic Club is a website with games and information for two to six year olds created by a special road safety group called DBDA
Tales of the Road is a website that uses cartoons to show kids what can happen if they don’t remember their road safety training and is operated by the Department of Transport
Street Sense 2 is a Scottish government website providing resources on road safety aimed at primary schools and their children
Main image by Julian Tysoe