30% of all pedestrian injuries happen to under 16’s
Parents and carers spend all of their time controlling and reducing the daily risk to their children, critical in this is helping children develop the skills to use roads safely. As children grow, their ability to make adult decisions in an adult world improves – but the ability to accurately consider risk and consequence isn’t properly developed until most reach their 20’s.
The greatest risk to children’s safety on the road is likely to be the belief that they can always make good choices at the road side; e.g. ability to judge risk, assess speed and distance of oncoming traffic and child or teenage distractions all interfere with accurate decision making. Child road sense develops from a very young age and setting a good example can positively reinforce the right things to do. Involving children on the decision making processes by talking about what you are doing and why, will help them to develop effective thought processes; whether in understanding the need to wear a seat belt or waiting for vehicles to stop and not just crossing on the ‘green man’.
Parents and carers have the power to help children be safer by consistently demonstrating the right and safest way to act. To help children develop ‘road sense’, parents and carers should be aware that children’s behaviour is based on ‘learnt behaviour’; e.g. they act in the way they have seen their parents act. To children this is the ‘norm’ they are exposed to – this includes as drivers; many children will grow up thinking the way their parents travel or engage with other road users is the right way for them to in future years. The most risky time for children is the times they travel to / from school, but most incidents don’t happen around schools but closer to home, where familiarity and distraction are likely to affect concentration.