One of the downsides of choosing a school that is several miles away, means that walking to school is not something we ever get to do. We do often have to walk down through the village to get to the school though and I am constantly having to talk to the boys about their lack of awareness when it comes to situations such as crossing roads.
I am really pleased to have a guest post today all about walking to school safely from Galt Toys and I will be getting my two sons to read these safety tips too.
Walking to school has so many benefits. For a start, you aren’t sat in the queues of traffic with the many other irate parents who just-can’t-get-parked. However, walking to school also gives you and your child a dose of exercise and the cool morning air can work wonders for waking us up and kick-starting the morning. However, we must remember basic road safety and make sure our children know it too.
Safety Tip 1: Stop, Look, Listen.
Remember the advert with the cutesy little hedgehogs from over a decade ago? It was quite child-friendly and very clear with its message. Search for the video online and show your child. It might also be worth practicing the rules before walking to school. First, STOP at the edge of the curb, even if the road looks clear. Next, LOOK both ways, then check both ways again to make sure there are no cars or bicycles approaching. But throughout all this you should be listening. LISTEN for roaring engines, fast vehicles or other potential dangers. Sometimes, particularly near a corner, cars can come out perhaps faster than they should, and getting run over at any speed is traumatising, both for children and adults, not to mention any witnesses.
Safety Tip 2: Be aware of strangers
Many of the people along the route will be other parents and their children, and you might even walk together so both parent and child have someone to chat to on the way. However, parents should be vigilant of anyone they see along the way, and children should never talk to strangers or accept anything from them. It is reasonably obvious, but if a child is walking to school on their own for the first time this year, they might become a little overconfident. Make sure they know that, no matter what, they should not stop and talk to anyone on the way.
Safety Tip 3: Find a Friend
Children walking to school without parents should walk with a minimum of one friend. There are many reasons for this:
· They are less likely to take a wrong turn.
· If they should get hurt, they won’t be alone and their friend can either run ahead or stay and attract an adult’s attention.
· There are a small few people out there who may want to hurt children for whatever reason. It is harder to take two or more children than it is to take a single child.
The larger the group they walk with, the safer it is. It is also an excellent time for children to socialise and to make new friends.
Safety Tip 4: Identify Safe Places
If there were an emergency or your child became frightened or the weather suddenly changed and they felt unable to get home, they should be aware of locations along the way that are safe for them. This might be a shop, a friend or family member’s house, or anywhere else that is of significance, such as a library.
Safety Tip 5: Consider a mobile phone
Everyone has different opinions on mobile phones for children, but if your child will be walking quite a way on their own or when the dark nights come around, it might be recommended to give them a phone for emergency use. It should have important numbers programmed in, and they should also know how to ring for the police if it is an absolute emergency (as in, life or death; for everything else, they should ring whoever they go to after school!).
Stick to our advice, and you can be safe in the knowledge that your child (and you, if accompanying them) will be getting to school and back in one piece.
About the Author
This article was written on behalf of Galt Toys. Galt Toys have 175 years’ experience in toys and education. Galt know a thing or two about designing toys & craft activities to encourage children to learn through play...and also have fun!