Roads wouldn’t be safe places for children even if every vehicle were driven within the speed limit by a driver who was alert and concentrating on the task at hand. Many accidents involve children in strollers or pushchairs, or who are pedestrians, cyclists or passengers in cars. Children need to know that the road is as dangerous as a cliff edge. Our job is to protect our children by helping them learn to respect traffic and cope with it as safely as possible. Most children have to travel near or on the roads, so traffic awareness is one of the most important skills they can have.
Never push a stroller or pushchair out into the road until it is absolutely safe to cross. Don’t use the stroller or pushchair as a signal to a motorist that you are there because he may not see it. Make sure your child is always safely harnessed into her stroller or pushchair. It’s easy to be distracted when crossing the road with a crying, talkative or whining child, so be especially vigilant then. If your toddler is walking by your side, don’t rely on her holding on to the stroller – she might run off to look at something interesting. She should wear reins or, failing that, you should hold her tightly by the hand.
Never take the chances you might be tempted to take on your own. When you are with children you can’t move fast enough to get out of trouble. Always behave in traffic as you would wish your child to behave when you’re not there.
Children shouldn’t be allowed to cross a road by themselves until you are confident they know how dangerous it is. They should know how to choose where to cross and how to cross. Make sure they know the Green Cross Code. If you want your child to make her own way to school, walk with her, letting her make decisions, until she seems able to do it safely. Plan the route so she can cross at a traffic light, pedestrian crossing or attendant-controlled crossing. Don’t let a younger child go on the pavement alone, even just next door.
It’s sensible to forbid your child to cycle on the road until she has passed a cycling-proficiency test such as the police organize in many areas. If she must ride at dusk, she needs well-maintained lights as well as reflective strips on her clothing. She should wear light-colored clothes as well.