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Lessons in back to school safety

Wednesday, January 24, 2018   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: children, safety, transport, technology

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 23rd January 2018

Parents and children are being urged to take a “devices down, heads up” approach to the journey between school and home.

With thousands of youngsters returning to classrooms from late January, there are concerns that digital distractions may put children at greater risk during their walk or cycle to school.

A child walks distractedly through traffic while playing on his phone.“We are asking parents to highlight the importance of a ‘devices down, heads up’ approach by teaching children to remove their earphones as they walk or cycle to school, and to stop walking if they need to use their phone,” Christchurch City Council Transport Operations Manager Aaron Haymes says.

“Youngsters being distracted by devices while crossing the road is a major concern. Children learn by watching others, so parents are ideal role models for doing the right thing.”

The council is also urging parents to consider the best transport options – walk, bike or bus – for getting children to and from school while motorists are being reminded to watch out for youngsters and to slow down.

“Children are often unpredictable pedestrians and cyclists and the most difficult for motorists to see,” Mr Haymes says.

“They can struggle to judge car speeds and the direction of sounds, so the onus is on drivers to slow down and be aware of more children on city streets from the end of January.”

Helmets are essential school accessories for cyclists and scooter users, along with travel plans that map out the safest routes to school.

“By walking or biking with their children, parents can also establish correct safety practices and reinforce the importance of taking the easiest routes and using school crossings.”

Families can also get involved in the Walk or Wheel Safely to School Day on Wednesday 21st February, with more than 30 schools registered to take part, and the school travel planning programme.

Tips for parents to help ease the pressure of a new school year

  • Be a safety-focused role model for your children, including avoiding the use of digital devices while walking with youngsters.
  • Encourage children to pack all digital devices in their bags for school or emergency use only.
  • Walk with your primary age children and encourage the use of the school-patrolled crossing.
  • Listen and look for vehicles exiting driveways when walking.
  • Always cross the road to collect a child from school and do not cross between parked cars.
  • If you travel by car, park away from the school gate and remember that P3 parking limits are for drop-off and pick-up only.
  • Make sure children enter and exit cars on the left.
  • Look for cyclists before opening the driver’s door.

Tips for motorists with kids back at school

  • Look out for children near schools.
  • Drive at a safe speed and be ready to stop.
  • You may need to drive more slowly than the speed limit so you have time to react.
  • Share the road while passing young cyclists with extra care.
  • Check for children when exiting driveways.
  • Remember that children can be unpredictable and don’t have the same ability to make a judgment call that you do.

Get more information on road safety in Christchurch.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch