Our roads can be incredibly dangerous. Teaching tamariki how to be safe around them is extremely important. Remember that tamariki will follow your example, so as an adult, it is important you set the correct example. Here are some tips for you to use and teach tamariki to keep them safe around roads.
Teaching tamariki about walking safely is important to keep them safe around our roads. Make sure whenever possible you always walk on the footpath, and never on the road. On the footpath, stick to the side closest to the houses so you stay away from the curb and cars. When there is no footpath, always walk facing oncoming traffic so that you can see any cars as they approach.
Whenever approaching a driveway, always look and listen for cars that may be entering or exiting. If you are approaching a blind driveway, make sure you walk slowly and check for cars before crossing. If you see a car blocking the footpath, check to see if there is someone inside. If there is, step back and allow them to move the car. If the car is not going to move, safely walk past on the side closest to the house whenever possible.
When crossing the road, its best to use pedestrian crossings or cross with traffic light-controlled crossings. However, this isnt always available. When crossing the road with no traffic light-controlled crossing, use the kerb rule.
The kerb rule:
· Step back from the kerb.
· Look and listen for traffic from all directions.
· If there are cars, let them pass before checking again.
· When it is clear, walk straight across the road.
· While crossing, continue to look and listen for any traffic.
Learning to bike is a great skill and can be lots of fun. However, before you allow tamariki to bike somewhere, ensure they are comfortable and confident doing the following:
· Staying on the left of the road.
· Looking over their shoulder for cars.
· Signaling when turning.
· Safely passing others on the road when necessary.
Secondly, ensure your child’s pahikara, or bike is ready. This includes:
· Adequate reflectors and lights on their bike.
· Bike is in good condition with working brakes.
· Bright or reflective clothing to improve visibility.
Lastly, ensure tamariki always wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet goes for any time your child is on a scooter or skateboard too!
Their helmet should be certified with a standards-approved sticker and in good condition. This means no damage to the outside, inside, or any buckles and straps. The helmet should fit snug, with little to no wriggle room. If there is too much space, it will slip around and not protect tamariki adequately in the case of an accident.
Lastly, we will talk about safety in and around motukā, or cars. When entering or exiting any vehicle, ensure the car has come to a complete stop. Secondly, if you have parked on the side of the road, always have children exit the vehicle on the side away from the road. Lastly, always check for traffic, (whether that be cars, cyclists, or pedestrians) before opening any doors.
When tamariki are in the car, it is a legal requirement of the driver to ensure they have an appropriate seat belt or child seat. Find out more about chosing the appropriate seatbelt for tamariki, By checking out our guide about it!
Driveways can also be very dangerous. Every year, 4 children lose their lives, and 17 are hospitalised in driveway accidents. Read our article about how to minimise driveway injuries.