Putting the clocks back heralds the start of winter. Afternoons and evenings get darker earlier and, unfortunately, this means that children are increasingly at risk on our roads. But as a new study reveals that children’s safety on the road is a priority for mums and dads – even higher than bullying and talking to strangers – it also reveals that we are taking risks with what they wear. Only one in four parents said that their children will wear high visibility clothing when they’re out and about in the dark this winter.
The new research, which was commissioned by TOTAL, suggests that children wearing high visibility (fluorescent or reflective) clothing can be seen by from up to 160 metres away. This compares to just 30 metres for those not wearing such clothing. Obviously this extra visibility makes a huge difference when it comes to driver braking distances.
Government research suggests that the risk of a child pedestrian being involved in a road accident increases significantly once they start school and last year 5,035 children were killed or injured on Britain’s roads. Many of the accidents happened between 3 and 6pm.
“It is vital at this time of year when it begins to get dark as early as three in the afternoon that parents and children are aware of how essential it is to be visible to other road users,” said Malcolm Burns, Chair of the Local Authority Road Safety Officers’ Association (LARSOA).
Simple measures, such as adding reflective strips to coats and bags can make a real difference to children’s safety.
“It is very sad that so many young children are hurt and killed on our roads, especially when simple steps like teaching good road safety practice and wearing high visibility clothing can make such a huge difference,” said Malcolm Jones, Managing Director, TOTAL UK. “We are committed to making roads safer for this vulnerable age group, which is why we want even more parents and teachers to use our free Little Learners resources.”
Be visible: Dress your children in bright or fluorescent clothes, or put reflective bands on their coats or school bags.
Set a good example to your pre-schoolers: Hold their hands or keep them on reins. Don’t let them ride their bicycle on the road.
Teach your children the Green Cross Code – Stop, Look, Listen, Live and make sure you, and they, cross the road in a safe place (a zebra or controlled crossing).
If there is no pavement and you have to walk on the road, teach your child to always face oncoming traffic – this is especially important at night, as you will be seen in a driver’s lights.
Explain to your child that they need to look out for cars even when they’re on the pavement. They should never run off – for all they know, someone might reverse out of a driveway.