Even as an adult traffic can be a difficult thing to manage effectively. So how do you ensure that your children play it safe on the roads? Read on to learn great child road safety tips and tricks to help your child know the dangers of traffic and how to avoid them.
Age does matter
Up to the age of 10 or 11, children aren’t fully aware of the dangers of driveways, cars, roads and car parks. Until they reach this age it’s important to teach them the essentials, educating them about traffic rules and preparing them for when they’re old enough to look after themselves.
Toddlers are especially at risk in driveways, as they move quietly and are easily absorbed when playing. Never leave young children to play near parked vehicles, and try to allocate a fenced off play area away from driveways.
Know the rules.
Children look to adults for guidance. So when you walk your child to and from school, around the block or to the shops, this is a great opportunity to practice safe road rules and talk them through it as you do.
Holding your child’s hand around the road is a safe habit to get into. Always practice the child road safety mantra of “stop, look listen, and think” actions before crossing a road and remember to look both ways – even when you know there’s nothing coming. The more you do this, the more your child will form a habit of doing this too.
Make the effort to walk to the pedestrian crossing, wait for the green man and keep your phone in your pocket. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how lazy we adults can get!
It’s also important to practice safety around driveways. Stop just before the back of parked cars to check that the car is not reversing, the entire time talking your child through what you’re doing. Children learn from us so if you don’t obey the rules, neither will your child.
Getting in and out of the car
It’s never too early to start teaching the correct side to exit a car. When putting your child into their restraint, always use the kerbside, passenger door. This way they’ll establish a habit early on to get in and out of the safest door – the one furthest from the traffic.
When exiting the car, point out where cars could come from before you open the door, unbuckle, hold their hand and get out safely.
How to know when your child’s ready to do it alone.
There’s no concrete answer for how to know when your child is ready to safely judge traffic by themselves. Your child’s ability to navigate and cope with road dangers depends on their own personal development, and the exposure and practice they’ve had.
However, once your child hits the age of 10 or 11 it’s time to assess their knowledge of child road safety. They need to not only have knowledge of the road safety rules, but also the ability to understand that drivers don’t always follow the rules. Spatial awareness is also important, and they must be able to judge how far away – and the speed – of vehicles coming towards them.
Do a few practices, dress your child in bright colours and take care to walk with them occasionally after you give them the free reign to check that your child is still following the rules.
We can’t help you teach your child road safety, but we can help you with roadside assistance, a jump start, a new battery or even a fuel top up if you ever find yourself in trouble! Holler on 1300 627 724