Help your child develop good road and street sense from an early age.
Knowing the risks
Every year, about 5,000 children under the age of 16 die or are seriously injured on the UK's roads, and as they get older and become more independent the risk increases.
Most road traffic accidents happen during school holidays and on light summer evenings when children are more likely to be playing outside. Boys have nearly twice as many accidents as girls because they tend to play more outdoor games, such as football.
Here are some things to consider with young children:
- Always hold your child's hand while they're young, and don't let them run on ahead.
- Always use a pedestrian crossing or zebra crossing if there is one.
- Set a good example, for example at pedestrian crossings wait for the green man rather than crossing on red.
- Let your child help you decide where and when it's safe to cross.
- Look out for hidden entrances or driveways across the pavement.
- Explain why they should never cross the road between parked cars.
- Make sure your child can be seen and put reflective strips on their clothing in winter.
- explain road safety rules and make sure your child knows to 'stop, look and listen'.
- ask your child, when you're out and about, whether she thinks it's safe to cross the road.
- help your child plan the safest route to a friend's house or the local shops.
- Keep talking to your teen about road safety issues and remind them about distractions such as listening to music while crossing or automatically following other teenagers across the road without checking it's safe.
- Encourage them to practise judging the speed and distance of vehicles.
- Discuss the issues, to raise their awareness. One of the biggest road safety issues for teenagers is getting into cars with young drivers. Many drivers aged 17 and 18 show off by driving too fast, while others may be under the influence of drink or drugs. They often carry too many passengers, which is why a quarter of all 15-year-olds killed in road accidents are passengers in cars with drivers who are under 21.
While we all like to see our children getting some exercise, many road accidents happen while they're cycling.
To minimise the risk of this happening:
- Ensure your child's bike is the right size and well maintained, with good brakes, lights and reflective strips.
- Ensure they always wear a helmet and that it fits properly.
- Find a cycle safety course in your area - many schools and local authorities run them.
- Encourage your child to use cycle paths, lanes and routes if they're available.
If you're a driver, remember to keep your speed down.
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