Traffic expert Robert Šťastný has prepared some useful advice to round off this article: five tips for those who drive their children to school, and five for the parents of young pedestrians and cyclists.
Driving to school
Place your child in a seat with a backrest. These seats are suitable for children up to about 10 years of age. If your child is ashamed to sit in it, show them how similar it is to a racing car seat. A booster seat is obviously another option, but be aware that it will not provide protection for the head and neck.
Fasten your children’s seat belts even if you are only driving round the corner at a relatively slow speed.
Put school bags and the other items you need to take with you in a place where they won’t hurt anyone in a collision or if you need to brake heavily.
When parking, always be considerate of pedestrians so that your car does not obstruct the safe use of crossings and other places. When reversing, pay special attention and remember that it is often impossible to see if any small children are behind the car.
When you come to a halt, turn off your engine. As children’s noses are much lower than adults’, they could breathe in exhaust gases when they are getting out of the car. Make all your children get out on the side where the pavement is, no matter how many of them are sitting in the back.
Going to school on foot
or by bike
Dress your children in bright clothes and add reflectors in low visibility. In rain or fog, fluorescent colours such as bright green, yellow or orange are effective.
Teach young schoolchildren the basics of safe road crossing. Even if a car stops, make sure they still look in both directions for other moving vehicles. If their view is obstructed, they should carefully look out from behind the obstruction to see what is happening on the road. They should always wait until a car stops in front of the crossing.
Explain to your children that it is dangerous to use a phone when they are walking or, worse, riding a bike. If your child needs to do answer a call or text someone, they should stop before they do it. Wearing headphones is also dangerous.
Tell your children that, when they are walking on a pavement with friends, they should not push each other and should not walk on the kerb. If the road has no pavement, the rule is to walk on the left-hand side.
Make sure that children wear helmets when they are riding their bikes, even if they are only going a short distance or are off the road. If they are not confident about turning into another road, it is absolutely fine for them to dismount and walk across. Bikes should never be ridden over pedestrian crossings – cyclists are faster than pedestrians and drivers may not see them in time.