>> Saturday, August 31, 2013
The kids are back at school. You can tell, the roads are stuffed up with traffic again.
Cog walked to school without an adult from year 4. It's not so bad here, we live in a village and the really busy road had a lollypop lady that's a crossing guard to the grown ups reading!
I didn't worry as much about her then as I do now. Now she has to cross a road to get to the bus stop without a proper crossing place, there are parked cars, speeding traffic, 8 or more school buses coming through and to be quite frank, it's dangerous.
One morning as I was driving along the road, a school bus came through, a teenage boy, about 15, was clearly late out of bed, he shot out of the alley, across the road in front of me and made it to his bus. I braked in time.....just. I wasn't going fast, who would near school bus stops? Lots of people that's who. He hadn't got a clue that I nearly hit him, he was completely oblivious, totally focused on catching his bus.
The problem with teens is they don't have to think hard about how to cross a road like tiddlers, they don't stand back from the kerb, look left, look right, look left again, they don't need to think stop, look, listen. They are like adults, it is a habit not so much a conscious thing. That's why it is so scary, because they are a bit tired, their mind is on who is on the bus, will they miss it, did they do their homework. Soon it'll be starting to get darker in the mornings and will be dark by the time the late school bus is back. Wearing fluorescent is not cool, sensible but not cool.
Every month 1000 children are injured on roads near schools. That's just the 'near' schools, what about the kids like Cog who start their journey's a long way from the school. Traffic is the biggest single cause of accidental death for 12 to 16 year olds.
I just think it's worth taking the time now to mention to your older kids that they are more likely to die on the road than they are of cancer. Remind them to put their phone down and look for the traffic, and to take an earphone out and listen for the traffic. There's no point in lecturing them, you know they won't listen. Just mention that 12,000 kids will be hurt this year and you'd prefer it wasn't them.
For 6 to 11 year olds I found this site from direct gov. There's a lot of stuff out there for drivers, watch some of these videos from Think, another Government initiative. But what is there for the high risk teenagers?
Writing all this had me whistling 'Dumb ways to Die', so I'll share it with you again. Maybe we could just sing it to our kids until they beg us to stop and promise to take more care.
Please remind your kids not just at the start of the school year but regularly throughout the year that they need to be careful to avoid becoming another statistic. Don't let them add to the 85,000 kids hurt on the roads around schools since 2006.