Now is the time to prepare for a safe and smooth transition from the holiday break
As Victorian students prepare to return to school after nearly six weeks of summer holidays, Kidsafe Victoria is urging all road users to take extra care in a bid to reduce the risk of childhood injury.
Transport incidents are one of the leading causes of injury death and hospital treatment for Australian children – this includes children as passengers in cars, pedestrians and wheeled device users.
Kidsafe Victoria General Manager, Jason Chambers, highlighted the dangers for children on and around roads, particularly during the busy back to school period.
“Roads are designed with adults in mind, however children aren’t ‘little adults’. They don’t have as much traffic experience or knowledge and are physically and cognitively less developed than adults, which places them at greater risk of injury.”
“During school hours there will be lots of excited children around roads, car parks and driveways, especially during the often chaotic pick-up and drop-off times.”
The home driveway, a place where many school day family journeys begin and end, is an area where particular care is needed. Every year an average of 7 children aged 0-14 years are killed and 60 are seriously injured due to driveway run over incidents in Australia.
“Children are unpredictable. They are naturally inquisitive, as well as being surprisingly quick and mobile. This, combined with the large blind spot that exists behind all vehicles, can make it difficult to see a child behind a reversing vehicle “, said Mr Chambers.
Kidsafe Victoria is also reminding parents and carers about the critical role that correctly fitted and used child car restraints and booster seats play in protecting children in the event of a crash.
Under Victoria’s child restraint road rules, all children under 7 years of age must legally be seated in a correctly fitted child car restraint or booster seat. However, Kidsafe recommends that children remain in their current restraint – including in a booster seat – until they outgrow the size limit, rather than being graduated to the next stage based on their age.
“A good adult seat belt fit is not achieved before children can pass the 5 step test – this is typically when they are approximately 145cm tall, or 11-12 years of age”, said Mr Chambers.
Kidsafe Victoria has released a set of tips to help keep children safe on and around roads for the start of the school year:
Slow down and be extra vigilant around school zones – school speed limits will be back in action so it’s important to look out for road signs advising speed reductions during school hours.
Drop your children off and pick them up on the school side of the road in your school’s designated drop-off and pick-up area.
Children should be seated in a child car restraint or booster seat that is correct for their size/age, correctly installed into the vehicle and adjusted to fit them properly on every trip, no matter how long or short.
All vehicles have blind spots which can make it difficult to see a child when reversing. Reversing sensors and cameras can help to reduce blind spots, however they should never be relied upon on their own to keep children safe.
Actively supervise children when near traffic, especially when crossing the road.
Set a good example by always using a designated school or pedestrian crossing to cross the road. Teach children to “Stop, Look, Listen and Think” before crossing the road and explain what this means.
If your child is using a wheeled device like a scooter or bike to get to school, ensure that they are using appropriate protection equipment such as helmets and wrist, elbow and knee guards.
Media Enquiries: Jason Chambers, General Manager, Kidsafe Victoria 0431 447 982 or (03) 9036 2306
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