On average, nearly 500 children a year are killed in road accidents, and nearly 50 000 children a year are injured in road accidents. Many of those who are injured are left with permanent scars and disabilities.
There are thousands more minor accidents which could have been worse. The young and the elderly are those most at risk. The risks can be lessened by:
• parents teaching children road safety as soon as they are able to understand.
• constantly reinforcing road safety drill.
• never letting young children out by themselves until they understand and can cope with dangers on the roads.
• adults showing a good example, and never taking risks themselves or allowing a child to take risks.
• teaching children the Green Cross Code when they are able to understand
The Green Cross Code
1 Find a safe place to cross, then stop.
2 Stand on the pavement near the kerb.
3 Look all round for traffic and listen.
4 If traffic is coming, let it pass. Look all round again.
5 When there is no traffic near, walk straight across the road.
6 Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross.
The following points are important:
• Walking reins or harness should be used for small children when they are out shopping or near a busy road, or when mother is pushing a pram or looking after other children.
• Children should only play on scooters, bikes, tricycles, etc., in their own garden or in play parks, not on open roads. This type of large equipment must be kept in good working order.
• Ice-cream vans attract children. They should never play near them or run over to one.
• Use of fluorescent materials (colour-glow treated) helps to make children more easily seen in dim conditions. Garments such as jackets or trousers can have fluorescent strips stuck on; fluorescent socks, wellingtons, bags, can be bought; and fluorescent wool can be used for hats and mittens.
• Children should be warned not to answer anyone in the street if they do not know them, and certainly not to go away with them for any reason.
• There may be a Tufty Club in the area where the child lives. These teach the over-threes road safety in a way that is fun.
• Parents should teach their children how to cross roads safely by using pedestrian crossings, pelican crossings, footbridges or underground causeways. They should know that policemen and the lollipop lady or man will see them across.
Always remember: small children run rather than walk, do things on impulse, soon forget instructions, and are not aware of danger. That is why they are so much at risk on the roads.