With so many people also travelling to and from schools at the start and end of the school day, it’s important for every parent and child to practise road safety around schools together. Children should be encouraged to be alert and aware of their surroundings by practising the road safety procedure- Stop, Look, Listen and Think. Here are some useful tips to go over with your family to help keep everyone safe.
In the Car
Make sure to use the appropriate child restraints for your child’s age group. Every person in the car should be buckled into their seat before the car is started. Assist younger children with doing up their seat belt so it is not twisted and the strap is fitted correctly. Children under seven years of age cannot travel in the front seat as a safety precaution. Ensure children are never left alone in the car unsupervised by an adult.
Stop one step back from the footpath or shoulder of the road.
Look in each direction for approaching traffic.
Listen for the sounds of approaching traffic.
Think about whether it is safe to cross the road.
Drop off and pick up
The safe door for children to get out of the car is the one facing away from the road. Children should wait in the car until an adult can open the door for them. Before getting out of the car, both adults and children should check that the coast is clear to leave the vehicle.
There is a 40km/h speed limit when driving near school buses that are picking up or dropping off school children. The rear lights will flash, alerting traffic travelling in the same direction that they should slow down whether the bus is stationary or moving.
It is important for children to know how to get on and off the bus safely. While waiting for the bus, children should wait well away from the kerb. Try to meet your child on the same side of the road that the bus drops them off at so they don’t have to cross the road by themselves. Wait until the bus has pulled away before crossing the road, as it can block other passing vehicles from view when it is stationary.
Walking to school
Another safety tip is to hold children’s hands walking to and from school. Children can be easily distracted and might not see incoming traffic or dangers as quickly as you. Until their knowledge and judgement of traffic conditions is developed, they rely on adults to be their guide and teacher.
- Set the example by following all road rules
- Discuss your actions and decisions around the road with your child
- Hold hands near roads
Riding to School
Riding to school can be a great way for kids to get in some extra exercise but it’s important to comply with all Australian safety laws. Whether on a bike, roller-skates, scooter or a skateboard, everyone must wear a helmet. Helmets must meet with Australian and New Zealand standards and must be securely fastened.
Road conditions are changeable and hard to predict for younger children, making it important children to be educated and supervised until they can confidently handle road conditions. Children under 10 should not ride their bikes or skateboards, etc on the road but rather on the footpath and should be accompanied by an adult. Cyclists must always keep to the left of the path and should pay special attention to pedestrians and driveways where cars might be entering or exiting.
Parking and driving around schools
Make sure to always park in designated parking zones around schools to avoid dangerous situations. Park your car on the same side of the road as the school if possible so your child doesn’t have to cross the road. Be on the alert for children moving in and out from behind cars while pulling in and out of parking spots. Approach all crossings slowly as a child’s peripheral vision isn’t as developed as an adult’s and their small size can make them difficult to see. Extra vigilance on roads around schools is the best way to prevent accidents.
Cars and other vehicles must obey 40km/h speed zones around schools during specified hours around the start and end of the school day. These hours can change based on the particular zone so it is important to always read the signs carefully. Remember, only some of these signs have flashing lights so pay close attention to all road signs.