Here in Australia, we’re lucky that – save for the heat and a few rainy days – the weather allows us to walk, rather than drive, all year ‘round.
Whether it’s walking to school, the local shops or to their friend’s place just down the road, a lot of kids spend a lot of time walking roadside. Do yours know how to do it safely?
In a bid to reduce the risk of childhood injury (or worse), Kidsafe is imploring parents to keep street safety front of mind and ensure their children are educated about the dangers of roads and driveways.
“Roads are designed with adults in mind, however children aren’t ‘little adults’,” says Jason Chambers of Kidsafe. “They don’t have as much traffic experience or knowledge and are physically and cognitively less developed than adults, which places them at greater risk of injury.”
During the school term, there are often plenty of excited children around roads, car parks and driveways, especially considering the often chaotic pick-up and drop-off times.
What’s more, the home driveway – a place where many families begin and end the school day – can see serious injuries and even deaths happen in the blink of an eye. Every year an average of seven children aged 0-14 are killed, and 60 are seriously injured, due to driveway run over incidents in Australia.
“Children are unpredictable – they are naturally inquisitive, as well as being surprisingly quick and mobile,” says Jason. “This, combined with the large blind spot that exists behind all vehicles, can make it difficult to see a child behind a reversing vehicle. Even if a car has parking sensors or a reversing camera fitted, children may not be noticed until it is too late to stop.”
To help, Kidsafe Victoria has released their top tips for keeping children safe around cars.
Safety on the street…
- Slow down and be extra vigilant around school zones – school speed limits are now back in action so it’s important to look out for road signs advising speed reductions during school hours.
- Children should be seated in a child car restraint or booster seat that is correct for their size/height, correctly installed into the vehicle and adjusted to fit them properly on every trip, no matter how long or short.
- Set a good example by always using a designated school or pedestrian crossing to cross the road. Teach children to “Stop, Look, Listen and Think” before crossing the road and explain what this means.
- If your child is using a wheeled device like a scooter or bike to get to school, ensure that they are using appropriate protection equipment such as helmets and wrist, elbow and knee guards and know how to safely cross the road.
Safety in the driveway…
Treat the driveway like a road and always Supervise, Separate and See:
- Actively supervise children when near driveways and ensure they are kept well away from moving vehicles
- Separate children’s playspaces from garages and driveways where possible. This can include fitting high handles to garage doors, installing fences to separate the house and garden from the driveway, and installing self closing doors and gates.
- All vehicles have blind spots which can make it difficult to see a child when reversing. Reversing sensors and cameras can help to reduce blind spots, however they should never be relied upon on their own to keep children safe.