Road Safety This is a very commonly asked question.
Parents are often extremely concerned about how to keep their children safe from traffic when they are out and about. At the Children’s Traffic Club, we have lots of resources, hints and tips about great ways to help your children learn how to walk along and cross roads safely.
As parents are very often busy working, responsibility for road safety may be shared with care settings such as nurseries and childminders. Parents can work on the practical application of road safety skills when they are out with their children. These road safety lessons may have already been explored by children using our award-winning resources specifically for early years’ workers. However, parents can use the Let’s Go Programme and our fun Augmented Reality app to bring our concepts to life.
Learning to cross a road safely takes time and practice. Children do not develop a consistent ability to judge the speed of oncoming traffic or how far away it is until they are around 9 years of age. However, research shows that the earlier a child is introduced to road safety the better the outcome, so The Children’s Traffic Club works with parents and carers of children aged 3-5 years to create good lifelong habits.
Parents can therefore help in the following ways:
1) Talk to your child about roads, vehicles and pavements as soon as they begin to understand language. Simplicity is a fundamental part of our approach and using consistent one-word instructions to your child such as “Stop”, “Look”, “Listen” and “Think” enables children to learn road safety more quickly.
2) Read books and stories about roads, vehicles and pedestrians to build your child’s awareness.
3) When you are out walking with your child, always make sure you cross safely. Ideally wherever possible, use a pedestrian crossing, but if one is not available, take time to find a safer place to cross like a zebra crossing.
4) Be fully present when out with your child. You need to be alert to potential dangers from vehicles and other pavement users. If you are distracted by your surroundings or mobile for example and are not focused on keeping safe, your child may learn bad habits and be at greater risk of road safety accidents.
5) Talk to your child’s caregivers or nursery teachers to understand what approach is being used in their care setting when it comes to road safety. Ensure that what you do and say with your child is consistent with the nursery, so that you don’t end up confusing your child.
6) Use our free worksheets to download and lots of idea for simple games at home to enhance your child’s road safety education. Our books, app and flashcards enable children to learn key skills in a fun and consistent way.
In our next blog, we will look in detail about the safety rules of how to cross the road and why it is important that children are holding on to you when they cross. If you teach your child these rules and apply them consistently every time you cross the road, your child will develop good road safety routines and will reduce the risk of being involved in an accident when they are out walking, scootering or cycling.