Keeping safe during the school holidays

School holidays are a time for children to take a break from their daily routines, and spend it with families and friends. There are also opportunities for older children (pre-teens) to start exploring their independence and freedoms.

By the pre-teen years, many children are starting to become increasingly independent wanting to do more things without their parents and/or carers around. Use the holidays as an opportunity to talk with and show your child how to be a safe pedestrian, rider and passenger. This upskilling will support them as their need for independence increases.

Talk to your children about safe places to play. Highlight the risks and challenges in different neighbourhoods and traffic environment differences when on holidays.

Consider independent activities your child might do in the holiday period and how you can help to make it safer. For example:

Chalk drawings - can be lots of fun but ensure your child is not working across driveways or shared paths where they are at risk of not being seen by a driver or cyclist. Always have an adult or friend standing upright when drawing so they can easily be seen.

Playing with balls -talk with your child and their friends about stopping to look for vehicles/riders before chasing runaway balls. Encourage one of them to be a spotter to keep an eye out for vehicles/riders and to pause the play, get everyone to stand in a safe spot until it’s OK to resume play. Check road safety risks of installed basketball or netball hoops such as not being seen by drivers entering or exiting driveway entrances, blind spots from street bends or corners and so on.

Changes in traffic - talk to your child that quiet roads don't mean they are always safe roads, they must be alert to vehicles/riders. eg cul-de-sacs

Riding and walking to the shops or friend's house or having sleepovers - discuss how to be a safe and responsible pedestrian/rider/passenger. Highlight the potential places of risk when playing or travelling. Talk about what to do if they're feeling unsafe or there's an emergency.

Things to share with your children when they're out and about:

  • they always tell you/an adult when and where they are going
  • if feeling unsafe, tell someone and move to somewhere safer
  • avoid playing near driveways and carparks as drivers may not see them
  • check their bike's brakes, bell, reflectors and tyres are all working before going for a ride
  • correctly wear a helmet when riding any device
  • remove their headphones when near traffic so they can hear approaching vehicles
  • stop, look, listen, think before they cross the road, and not just follow their friends
  • wear bright clothing so drivers can see them, especially when it's twilight.
  • Learning across the curriculum
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