The start of the new school year is certainly a time for making good resolutions, but it also brings with it new timetables, constraints and an increased need to carefully coordinate everyone's travel arrangements, especially when it comes to children travelling to and from school. Safely.
That said, there a few broad guidelines worth highlighting since they can be applied in (almost) any circumstances:
Walking to and from school, whenever possible, is beneficial to a child’s health and helps satisfy their need for exercise, not to mention being an essential tool in teaching them about traffic and dealing with danger. There are a few precautions you should take, though:
- Accompany the child on the journey as many times as necessary to memorise the places and points along the way that will require greater attention (pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, parking, etc.).
- Teach the child to identify dangers and ways of avoiding them (walking along the wall side of the pavement, checking that other users have seen them and always maintaining visual contact, etc.).
- Choose a safe and pleasant route, even if it’s not the shortest one.
- Always take your time setting off, since stress makes a child less attentive to their surroundings and makes them vulnerable.
Once they reach 10 years of age, the child’s peripheral vision becomes sufficiently developed to assess speeds and distances, which is essential when it comes to traffic and road safety. However, it is also vital that the child be able to master both using their bicycle and the rules of the road before deciding whether you allow them to make these daily journeys on their own. Things to consider:
- Take the child out on their bike in all types of traffic (towns and villages, roads and paths) to ensure that the child has the necessary control to ride alone. Alternatively, the school might offer such a service and have the child sit a cycling test to check what they have learned, so check with staff to find out whether your child is deemed capable of cycling alone.
- Ensure that the bike is in good condition and well equipped so that the child can always be seen (consider reflectors and other lights – a wide range of products is available at the ACL shops in Bertrange and Ingeldorf).
- Get the child used to automatically putting their helmet on before any bike ride, regardless of the distance.
You may have no choice but to take your child to school by car (from lack of school transport to living far from the school, there are many circumstances that can make this the only possible means of transport). In this case, in order to avoid a build-up of traffic in the areas surrounding the school that would put pupils at greater danger, it’s wise to drop the child off some distance from the school (such as at a car park, a drop-off point designated by the local authorities especially for schoolchildren, etc.) and give them the opportunity to make the short walk to the school while adhering to the precautions outlined above.
And of course, whichever means of transport you choose, make sure that your child is always visible, especially now as the nights are drawing in and children are likely to be on the public highway in semi-darkness (illuminated accessories, light-coloured clothing or clothing with reflective details, etc.).
All the items you need to ensure that your children are visible on foot or by bike are available in our ACL shops in Bertrange and Ingeldorf, where we welcome you from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm.
From safety waistcoats to bicycle accessories and small lighted gadgets to hang on the school bag, you will find safety items and personal advice.
The ACL is there to support you on a daily basis. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on +352 450045-1 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.