Walk Safely to School in 2021

A great way to build your child's road safety knowledge and skills is by joining in National Walk Safely to School Day this year 15 May 2021, not just this day but every day you can.

Walk Safely to School day is a great opportunity for schools, parents, carers and students to:

  • highlight the importance of being a safe road user
  • talk about and role model how to be a safe pedestrian
  • be physically active
  • stimulate the brain for a productive day of thinking
  • help the environment by lowering noise and air pollution, and traffic congestion
  • start a new routine!

Professor Boyd Swinburn of Deakin University, Victoria, tells us not only the merits of walking but also that children prefer to walk to school than be driven. Who would have thought that?

Children prefer to walk to school by Professor Boyd Swinburn of Deakin University, Victoria

Here’s how to join in:

1. get involved

Anyone can take part in Walk Safely to School Day. Those who live further from school can mix it up by parking away from the school to walk the rest of the trip or walk past the regular bus, train or tram stop to the next one.

And rather than do this for just one day, work out how you can walk together more regularly.

2. always hold hands

When on the footpath, crossing the road or in a car park always hold your child's hand at least until they are 8 years old, closely supervise them until they are at least 10 years old.

3. be alert and aware

Point out dangers and potential hazards to your child as you walk together, e.g. vehicles coming out of driveways, construction that blocks footpaths, waiting for all traffic to completely stop before stepping onto crossings or traffic light crossings. Making eye contact with the driver before crossing.

4. put your phone away

Set a good example by putting your phone away, not being distracted and focusing on your surroundings. If you need to use your phone, stop in a safe place and tell your child what to do while you’re distracted.

5. choose a safe crossing

A safe place is one where you can clearly see oncoming vehicles and they can see you.

Remind your child to always Stop, look, listen, think before you cross any road

- Stop one step back from the kerb

- Look  continuously look both ways

- Listen for the sounds of approaching traffic

- Think about whether it’s safe to cross or not.

6. practice practice practice

The more supervised pedestrian experiences your child can get the more ready they will be when they become an independent traveller. So why not make Walk Safely to School Day the start of a new routine by walking to and from school together more often?

For more information about teaching your child to be a safe traveller, read Safe Travel on the department's parent and carer hub.

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