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Walking is good for health and fitness and itís important for children to enjoy being outside and active. However, there are plenty of things you can do as a parent to help keep your child as safe as possible on the roads.
∑ Children are taught about the dangers of the road in school but parents and carers need to help put this knowledge into practice.
∑ Lead by example - children will learn behaviours from you - if you take risks on the road, they will too.
∑ Practice road safety skills throughout your child's life and make sure they have the skills to stay safe when they move to secondary school.
∑ Where possible use a pedestrian crossing, wait for the green man and make eye contact with drivers.
∑ Always make sure that traffic has stopped before you cross at a pedestrian crossing.
∑ Don't use a mobile phone when walking with children, especially when crossing roads.
Early Years (Under fives)
∑ Let children walk on the inside of the footpath away from the edge of the road.
∑ Ask your children to hold onto a pram if you can't hold their hand. If your child has a tendency to let go of your hand consider using reins.
∑ When stopping to cross the road, stand well back from the edge of the road, keeping your pushchair back too.
∑ Donít let children run ahead of you or lag behind where you can't see them.
∑ At home keep your doors and garden gates securely shut.
Primary School (6-10 year olds)
Try to reinforce the following messages when out and about with your child:
∑ Stop, Look, Listen and Think (starting in a safe place and going straight across the road).
∑ Always wear bright and conspicuous clothing.
∑ Never play near the road and keep away from junctions and parked cars.
∑ Where possible, always cross the road with a School Crossing Patrol or using a pedestrian crossing.
∑ Try to avoid crossing between parked cars, on sharp bends or close to the top of a hill. Move to a space where drivers and riders can see you clearly.
∑ Always try to ensure that your children get out of the vehicle on the pavement side.
Secondary School (11-16 year olds)
∑ Tell your children to give all their attention to crossing the road.
∑ Remove head phones, put your phone in your pocket and don't mess about with, or be distracted by your mates.
∑ Look out for each other. Always look out for yourself Ė donít just follow someone else.
∑ Talk to your child about the safest routes to and from their destinations (help them to plan if necessary and do a trial run together).
∑ Talk to your child about what to do if their normal transport doesnít work out (missed the bus etc.).
∑ Encourage your children not to hang about near the roads after school. If they want to spend time with their friends, encourage them to go somewhere safe.
Talk to your children about how to behave at bus stops:
∑ Don't block the pavements
∑ Don't stand too close to the kerb (in case they are pushed)
∑ Consider vulnerable bus users by allowing them to get on and off the bus first