As the schools around the country prepare to close for the Easter holidays the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has launched a series of videos focusing on child safety on or near driveways and in housing estates.
With brighter evenings and better weather also on the horizon the purpose of the videos is to give parents the tools to help keep their children safe.
Between 2010 and 2015 38 children aged 14 years and under were killed on Irish roads. The most recent ‘Child Casualty Report’* found that 41% of all child fatalities occurred in built-up areas while in the same period, half of road-related serious injuries among children occurred as a result of a collision in a built-up area.
These videos will provide parents and guardians with practical advice on how to help keep children safe when playing in these areas and tips on how we can all share the road safely. The videos give step by step guidance on the different checks and routines drivers can employ when traveling with children or in areas where children often are such as driveways, housing estates and near schools.
“Children are the most vulnerable of our road-users so it is really important that we as adults take responsibility for their safety.”
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said: “Children are the most vulnerable of our road-users so it is really important that we as adults take responsibility for their safety. The aim of these videos is to provide all of us with tools to do this. These videos provide clear steps that each of us can take to protect our children whether in a car, driveway or out on housing estate roads.”
“We cannot expect children to take responsibility for their own safety. It’s up to us to make road safety part of their everyday routine and teach them how to share the road safely.”
The RSA have the following advice for parents and drivers:
- Place your child in an appropriate child restraint. It’s the law and failure to do so incurs 3 penalty points and a fixed charge notice.
- Always supervise children at play and hold their hand when walking on or near driveways and roads.
- Where possible, reverse your vehicle into the driveway or parking space. This makes it much safer for driving out again. If your view is obstructed always ask another adult to help guide you out of a driveway or parking space.
- Keep garage doors and side gates locked and always keep your car keys out of children’s reach.
- Talk to your children about road safety. Show them where the danger is and what they can do to keep safe on the roads.
- Child proof your car. Before you begin your journey engage the child locks on your car doors and remove any objects that could potentially harm a child, for example small objects that a child could choke on.
- Develop a short series of steps for checking that an area is safe before you get into the car. Check all around your car and check that gates and entrances are closed or locked. Then check outside the garden and driveway areas to make sure there are no children there.
- Carry out a basic ‘Cockpit Drill’ each time you get behind the wheel. Check the doors are properly secured; ensure your seat is in a comfortable position; check your handbrake or parking brake is fully on; and make sure the gear lever is in neutral. Next, make sure your mirrors are correctly adjusted; and your seatbelt, and that of any passengers, is properly fitted. Finally check your fuel gauge and make sure all system warning lights go out as expected.
- Remember, children do not have the same understanding or awareness of dangers that you have, so you need to modify your behaviour in any area where you think there may be children at play. Slow down, respect your environment and always, expect the unexpected.
There are six videos in the series and they cover the following topics:
Driveway Safety, Pre-Journey Checks, Cockpit Drills, Final Checks, Child Safety in Cars and Driving in Built-up Areas.
The videos are available to view on the RSA’s YouTube page, www.youtube.com/RSAIreland and the accompanying booklet ‘Child Safety in Cars’, is available to download from the RSA website.
*RSA report, published 2014, examined the number of children killed on our roads between 1997 to 2012