Walking to school is great exercise, its fun and a nice way for your child to spend time together with their friends but your child needs to be safe while doing it. By following these tips it will help your child get to and from school without any problems.
The safenetwork (a website giving parents advice on children’s safety) suggests that an average age in the UK that parents allow their child to walk to school on their own is between 10 and 12 years old, however, this can often be as young as 8 if your child is walking with a sensible and older sibling.
The first things that that you and your child need to do are identify and plan a suitable route. To identify the route you need to walk it with your child, think of this stage of planning as seeing it from your child’s point of view- you know your child best and will be able to establish what aspect of the route will put them at least danger.
Often the quickest route to school is not the safest. Their journey time walking to school may well be 5 or 10 minutes longer as the safest route has safe spots and controlled crossing points, thus, giving you piece of mind knowing that your child will be safer crossing roads.
Here are some helpful tips that will help you plan the route
Choose a route that has minimal side road crossings. If this is unavoidable then teach your child to indent slightly so that they are increasing the car driver’s observation time of anyone crossing the side road. Your child should then be taught to resume back on to the main road to continue with their direction of travel.
Always incorporate traffic lights or school crossing patroller into the route. It is fundamental that your child is confident using both - you can establish how well they are familiar with it by both of you practicing using it together at first and then getting them to do it with minimal prompting and input from you.
School uniforms are generally dark in colour, therefore, to help your child to be spotted by drivers they should wear reflective band around their body or a high visibility vest which can be purchased at a reasonable price.
Remind your child to stick ONLY to the route that you have practiced with them. It is important to highlight to them from a safety point of view that they should NEVER to be talked into changing the route or taking a short cut by their friends.
Whilst you want your child to have fun and gain some socialising time with their peers it is also necessary to teach them of the kind of dangers that can occur when they play chase or push each other e.g. falling or tripping on to the road.
Your child should be taught NEVER or take rides from other people that have not been arranged by you.
If your child is struggling to remember part of the route you can make them up a personalised note book which contains simple directions and pictures of the actual route and acts as a reminder for them. This is a fun activity you can do together and it will also help your child to remember some of the information.
The Golden Rules for Crossing the Road Safely
1. Stop at the curb or edge of the street.
2. Look left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic.
3. Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.
4. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
5. Walk, don’t run across the street.