It’s the season of change. Kids are back to school. The days are getting cooler. You may also be preparing your child for their next big step by building their confidence in walking to and from school on their own for the first time, an exciting yet daunting experience for any child (and grown up).
Here are our top tips on how to prepare your child to feel and, more importantly, stay safe on their commute.
- Identify The Safest Route
Before sending your child off into the big wide world, you’ll want to identify the safest route. Identifying the safest route isn’t always easy but there are some key markers to look out for. Avoid alleyways and unlit areas; opt for well populated routes with lots of shops and landmarks and find roads with low speed limits where possible.
- Walk The Route Together Beforehand
If it’s your child’s first time making the journey on their own, it can help to walk the route a few times together first. This will help to familiarise them with the journey and prepare them for any potential hazardous points along the way.
It can also be helpful to point out memorable landmarks or houses along the route if they do happen to lose their bearings, that way they can correct themselves if they go wrong. It may also be worth trialling a few routes to see which your child feels most comfortable with.
- Have Safe Spots
There may be a time when your child must ask for help, so you’ll want to make sure there’s somewhere safe they can seek help in a potentially harmful situation. Whether that be from a trusted neighbour along the route, a local newsagent or coffee shop, it stops your child from having to ask a stranger.
- Employ the Buddy System
Not only will a walking buddy help your child feel safer but will help them stay safer, they’ll have an extra pair of eyes on the lookout for potential hazardous situations and if an accident does occur their buddy can find help. The bigger the group the better! Safety in numbers.
- Apply The No Headphone Rule
As an adult there’s nothing better than listening to your go to playlist on your commute, it provides a welcome distraction, which is what we don’t want for our children. Children tend to be easily distracted without music, let alone with. If your child is busy listening to music, it’s unlikely that they’ll be as alert or able to hear oncoming traffic or potential dangers.
- Make Sure They’re Visible
Typically, school uniforms aren’t known for their bright colours. Choose a jacket that’ll ensure your child can be seen at night-time, or even better, equip them with a Million Mile Light! This road safety light will help your kids to be seen up to 200 metres away (that’s 44 car lengths). It is lightweight and discreet, so there's no excuse from them to moan about it being too heavy. It's also completely battery free and built to last a lifetime, so you never have to worry about it running out! It’s hypersensitive for even the slowest of walkers and the ultra-bright light helps drivers to see them early.
- School Them On Road Safety
It’s not only important to equip your child with the tools they need to stay safe, but with the knowledge. Make sure they’re schooled on stranger danger and road safety. It may be helpful to make flashcards for the different signs, like the green man and zebra crossing to test them. You can then point out the various signs when you’re out and about and quiz them to help reinforce their learning.