It is so important to teach basic road safety to children as soon as they are able to understand. Research shows that an average of six children under the age of five are killed or seriously injured, every week in Britain.
Taylor is 2 and at that very stubborn, independent stage. He now wants to walk everywhere and he rarely wants to hold my hand. So it's really important for me to teach him some basic road safety so he begins to understand the danger of roads.
Young children learn from seeing how people around them do things, so it's particularly important to set a good example; don't take risks, cross safely, keep your full attention on the traffic when crossing.
Here are a few tips you can also follow:
- Talk about the dangers of roads, when out walking. Reinforcing that we walk on the pavement and the roads are for cars only. Discuss how fast the cars are going. Research shows that very young children struggle to judge how fast transport are travelling or how far away they are, so talk about this.
- Don't be afraid to use a harness/reins if you're worried your child may run off. There are some super cute backpack harnesses available.
- Introduce the 'green man'. Talk about us only being allowed to cross at the special crossing, when the 'green man' says we can go.
- Talk about the different vehicles you can see on the roads; Can you find a lorry? Which is biggest, the bike or the bus? What colour is that car? Learning about the different types of vehicles can make them more aware of what is on the road around them as well as an opportunity to build on their language.
- Always hold hands when crossing the road. Even if they're beginning to get very independent and want to walk on their own on the pavement, make sure it's a rule to hold hands when crossing a road.
- Play with small world toys such as cars, roads and people. Model crossing the road safely and cars stopping at traffic lights, etc.
- Share simple road safety stories aimed at young children.
- Use the STOP, LOOK and LISTEN rule. Always remember to stop at the road, ensuring it is a safe place to cross [a pedestrian crossing, a zebra crossing, traffic islands, etc], encourage to look both ways to check for traffic, encourage them to listen to see if they can hear any traffic coming and then cross when the green man beeps or when it is safe to cross.
It is important to constantly teach our children about road safety, as they get older. It is thought that children do not become fully aware of road safety until they reach the age of 11!
A great way to do this is through an online road safety game. Kids love playing games and this fun, interactive game allows children to follow a little boy around town making decisions about road safety. They can either play independently, or with a grown up to discuss the answers with.