Safer School Journeys

It's 'back to school' for lots of Lincolnshire children this month, which means a whole new world of challenges to face on a daily basis; one of these being the journey to and from school. 

Children aged five years and above are better at spotting dangers than younger children, but they can still be impulsive and have a tendency to overestimate their own abilities; therefore adult supervision is still necessary. We are not suggesting children need to be constantly wrapped up in cotton wool, as children learn by experiencing risk, but it is important to continue to give children safety messages so that they can keep themselves safe. 

Gina Blundell, Health Visitor and Accident Prevention Pathway Lead at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust has some top tips for staying safe. 

Road Safety 
Children should still be encouraged to hold an adults hand when crossing the road and it is a good time to start introducing the basics of the Green Cross Code. 


The number of children injured as pedestrians peak at around 12 years old, when they start travelling to school on their own, so good habits taught early will pay off. 

The Green Cross Code   
1. FIND A SAFE PLACE TO CROSS: avoid crossing between parked cars, at bends in the road or close to the top of a hill, to make sure drivers can see you. 
2. STOP JUST BEFORE YOU GET TO THE KERB: don't get too close to traffic, make sure you can see approaching traffic and give yourself lots of time to look around. 
3. LOOK ALL AROUND FOR TRAFFIC AND LISTEN: look in every direction and listen, you can sometimes hear traffic before you can see it. 
4. IF TRAFFIC IS COMING, LET IT PASS: look all around again and listen, only cross when there is a safe gap and plenty of time to cross. Remember, traffic may seem far away but it is moving quickly. 
5. WHEN IT IS SAFE, GO STRAIGHT ACROSS THE ROAD - DO NOT RUN: keep looking and listening for traffic as you cross, look our for bicycles and motorcyclists travelling between lanes of traffic and do not cross horizontally. 

It is important to be vigilant when walking with children so avoid using your mobile phone. Explain that using phones or games whilst walking can lead to accidents. This will set them a good example for the future. 

More information: 
http://think.direct.gov.uk/education/early-years-and-primary/parents/5-t... - this site has lots of resources to support you with teaching your child about road safety. 

Cycling
Starting school is often when children also start riding a bike on a regular basis. Children can sometimes become overconfident with their new found independence. 

Almost one quarter of the cyclists killed or injured are children. Cycling accidents increase as children grow older, with 10 to 15 year old riders at greater risk than other age groups. 

Get your child into the habit of always wearing a helmet when cycling, as well as getting them enrolled on a cycle training scheme. 

More information: 
www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability   
www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lincolnshire-road-safety-partnership/
http://talesoftheroad.direct.gov.uk
www.cycle-smart.org

In Cars 
Not all car seats fit all cars, and if the seat isn't right, or fitted incorrectly, your child won't be as safe as they should be. 

  • Make sure you use the right car seat for your child's age, weight and height. 
  • Use a child car seat or booster seat for all children under 135cm and under the age of 12 years old. 

All car passengers are required to wear a seat belt and babies and children must never be carried in the front sear where an air bag is fitted. 

More information: 
http://www.childcarseats.org.uk
http://www.busk-uk.co.uk 
www.brake.org.uk 

Preventing backpack-related injuries 
Choose a backpack for your child carefully. it should have ergonomically designed features to enhance safety and comfort. 


Don't overstuff a backpack; it should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's body weight. For example, a child that weighs 60 pounds should carry a backpack no heavier than 12 pounds. 

Ask your children to use both straps when wearing their backpack to evenly distribute the weight on their shoulders.