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Safety by the Roadside – Keeping Children Safe

Child Safety Week is an annual campaign, organised by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), which aims to raise awareness about the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented. Road safety for children is a significant concern, especially with increasing traffic congestion.

At Oliver & Co, we assist families affected by roadside injuries to children. If you need our help, please contact our personal injury team at 01244 312306 for advice on potential claims.

Despite efforts at home and school to educate children about roadside dangers, they are still learning and can have momentary lapses in concentration with devastating consequences. Ensuring child safety near roads requires a comprehensive approach. This guide provides information on how to keep children safe at the roadside:

1. Education and awareness

Teaching road safety rules: From an early age, children should learn basic road safety rules, like looking both ways before crossing, understanding traffic signals, and using pedestrian crossings. These lessons should be reinforced regularly at school and home.

Advanced driving lessons: Parents can enhance their driving skills through advanced lessons, available locally, to better ensure child safety.

Role-playing and simulations: Parents can use role-playing exercises and simulations to teach children how to act in real-life situations.

Educational programmes: Schools and community centres should incorporate road safety education into their curricula, often led by traffic safety experts for interactive learning.

2. Safe road infrastructure

Child-friendly crossings: Crossings near schools and playgrounds should be clearly marked and equipped with traffic lights and pedestrian signals. Speed humps can also help slow down vehicles.

Adequate signage: Roads frequented by children should have visible, well-maintained signs indicating school zones, pedestrian crossings, and speed limits. Parents can advocate for better signage and protection from speeding vehicles by contacting local councils and joining groups like RoadPeace.

Pavements and barriers: Pavements should be wide, unobstructed, and well-lit. Overgrown shrubbery and potholes should be reported to local councils. Physical barriers, such as fences or bollards, can prevent children from stepping onto the road.

Traffic calming measures: Implementing traffic calming measures like speed bumps, chicanes, and roundabouts can reduce vehicle speed and make the environment safer for children. Installing black boxes in teenagers’ cars can encourage safe driving and lower insurance premiums.

3. Parental and community involvement

Supervised travel: Young children should be supervised by an adult when near or crossing roads. Holding their hand and ensuring they stay close can prevent accidents.

Walking groups: Organised walk-to-school programmes and walking groups under adult supervision enhance safety and foster community. Contact your school to see if such initiatives exist or start one with fellow parents.

Community watch programmes: Neighbourhood watch programmes can monitor road safety near schools and residential areas. Volunteers can help guide children at crossings and report unsafe conditions.

Advocacy for safety measures: Parents and community members should advocate for improved road safety measures. Campaigning for safer infrastructure, better signage, and stricter enforcement of traffic laws can make a significant difference.

4. Technological aids

Reflective clothing and accessories: Children should wear reflective clothing, backpacks, and accessories to enhance their visibility to drivers, especially in low-light conditions.

Mobile apps and gadgets: Mobile apps and wearable gadgets can provide location tracking, emergency alerts, and guide children on safe routes. Remind children not to use phones or earphones while walking near busy roads. Drivers should remember it’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

5. Legislation and enforcement

Strict enforcement of speed limits: Authorities should strictly enforce speed limits, especially in school zones and residential areas. Speed cameras and regular patrols can deter speeding and enhance safety.

Public awareness campaigns: Governments and non-profit organisations should run public awareness campaigns highlighting the importance of road safety for children. These campaigns can be spread through various media channels, including social media.

Ensuring the safety of children by the roadside requires a collective effort from parents, schools, communities, and the government. By promoting education, improving infrastructure, maintaining vigilant supervision, and effectively using technology, we can create a safer environment and significantly reduce road-related injuries and deaths.

Research by Brake shows that in 2021, 512 children aged seven or younger were killed or seriously injured on British roads, averaging one child every 17 hours—a tragic statistic.

How can we help?

If your family has been affected by a road collision, we offer expertise and compassionate assistance in handling claims. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, collisions will continue to happen. Call us at 01244 312306 to discuss how we can help recover the compensation your child deserves if they have suffered injuries due to a careless or reckless driver.

Examples of children and families we have helped

  • A 13-year-old girl who suffered a head injury and scarring who was in a hurry to catch public transport and ran across the road at a crossing without waiting for the green man.
  • A teenager who suffered significant spinal fractures resulting in surgery and brain injury whilst travelling as a passenger in her friends speeding car that collided head on with another vehicle.
  • Parents of teenager who was tragically killed because of a dangerous driver.

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