There are aspects of travel that we never save on. We are, of course, talking about health and safety. And when it comes to the health and safety of children, there is no discount. We stand on our heads to make travel both enjoyable and safe. But are we equally concerned with safety in our daily lives?
You know us, you know that we don’t skimp on travel safety. We always emphasize how important it is to have additional insurance for both the trip and the rental car, vaccinations or even a properly packed first aid kit. When planning a trip already at the stage of choosing a destination, we always take into account the safety on the spot, study the current announcements and recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, check the necessary vaccinations and risks. Standard.
When we start traveling with toddlers on board, many other worries and concerns come into play. And it’s necessary to choose the right stroller, safe car seat, healthy cosmetics, safe medicines, recommend to the pediatrician what to take, plan vaccinations accordingly, etc. (By the way, we recently came across a study showing that people spend more time choosing a stroller for the baby than a car seat!).
And as our kids grow, these worries are not less ;-) In front of parents and children there are new challenges and important moments: first steps, first bike ride, first days in kindergarten or school. The child becomes more and more independent, needs less and less of our help, and parents watch in horror as toddlers grow and become independent.
Why are we writing about it now? Because the school year is about to begin. Many children will start attending educational institutions for the first time, and many will also start walking or riding a bicycle or scooter on their own, unaccompanied by their parents. So how do we make this road to school safer? How to reduce the risk of an unfortunate event?
Here are some of our tips and tricks! Many tested on the road, but will certainly work well in everyday life. Although it will be a few more springs before we let Olive go to school alone, we are already instilling important habits that we hope will stay with her forever.
Table of contents
Education from a young age
It really makes sense! It is known that we are not going to teach a 6-month-old traffic signs, but to a child who is a year and a half old you can already show the colors on traffic lights and explain what they mean. And he probably won’t know what it’s all about at first, but we encourage you to repeat, like a mantra, at every walk, the lights on the signals and explain, and you’ll see that he’ll quickly understand and will tell you on his own whether it’s okay to go or not yet.
This is just an example, but I think everyone is familiar with the Polish adage “what a shell is too young…”. ;-) We, from a young age, repeat about crossing only on the lanes, looking around to see if nothing is driving, crossing by the hand, getting off the bike in the lanes, etc. etc. These are such universal principles that are useful all over the world.
And you know what surprises us the most? That Olive herself stops before crossing, even as she runs after something. What’s more, it happens that colleagues are stopped when they rush into the street. There is no such thing! Each time you have to stop, look around and only then can you pass. You can already see the first results, which now need to be cared for and nurtured.
We don’t play by the street
It is definitely better to go to the park, to the playground, to spend time among the greenery than to play right next to the streets, even if you live in a gated estate.
We will tell you what can happen when, for example, the ball falls on the street….
Recently, during our trip, in a small town, we witnessed how a little girl who was walking with her mother on the sidewalk by the street, a ball fell out of her hands and rolled into the street, right under the speeding cars. Do you know what mom did? She first grabbed her daughter’s hand to stop her from running after the toy and tried to explain that the toy had escaped. On Mom’s part, there was no attempt to go and catch the ball…. and rightly so! Applause for this mom! Either she would have ended up walking into a busy street with the child, or she would have left the child unattended for a while… neither of these two options was good. Fortunately, both we and the car on the opposite side stopped at emergency lights and saved the ball, but the hero was definitely the girl’s mom.
Because a lot of it is our responsibility. If a child once sees that mom or dad has jumped into the streets to get a toy, he or she will remember that it is okay to do so. Of course, we have no control over the fact that the child will not see another parent behaving this way, or older children, but it is always worth telling, explaining, explaining why certain things must not be done.
Crossing the street
We can teach and demonstrate hundreds of times, but it is equally important that prudent crossing the street also becomes an adult habit. Unfortunately, often already approaching a crosswalk we will quickly look both ways, without stopping, and step into the crosswalk.
We always, but it’s always when we go with children, we stop before the crossing. Even when it’s a small residential street, even when we approached five times we looked that nothing was driving. ALWAYS. We stop, look around together and decide together that we can pass (preferably by the hand!). Yes, it takes more time, but I guess half a minute on the way to kindergarten won’t save anyone?
Especially since haste is not an ally when it comes to getting to school safely. Tempting shortcuts, crossings without lanes…. Let’s avoid it as we would want our children to avoid it as well.
Here we must add one more remark. Of course, we assume that you know that you do not ride a bicycle in the lanes? We also instill this principle by asking you to get off your scooter or bicycle every time you approach the lanes.
We wear reflectors
We proudly wear reflectors :) You can find really cool, interesting designs for kids, which they will definitely be more willing to wear. We recommend buying with your child – let him choose for himself what he likes. And if you want to use some ordinary ones (which we recommend even more), you can decorate them delicately keeping in mind that they still serve their basic function.
How else can you make a child want to wear a reflector? Let’s carry them ourselves :) There is such a stage of child development that they want to dress like parents, behave like elders, imitate and squirm as we try to explain that it is not yet the right time to climb extremely high slides. If they see their parents wearing such sparkles, and on top of that they reflect light so coolly, they’ll want to too.
When choosing a backpack, it is worth buying one that has reflectors already sewn in (by the way, it is also easy to find jackets or shoes with reflectors). This is always an additional safety feature to increase visibility on the road.
We also decorate cross-country bikes, scooters and even strollers with reflectors. You never know when we will be returning after dark or in bad weather ;)
By bicycle and scooter always wearing a helmet
We regret that so few children ride in helmets. Then again, what’s the wonder, since adults rarely wear helmets either? Let’s look at the statistics – according to a 2015 survey by the National Road Safety Council on the use of protective helmets, only 18% of people under the age of 17 wear a helmet (it’s worse only in the 60+ age group)
Admittedly, there is an upward trend, but it is still only rounding one in five helmeted children.
We’re not saints either, but when we go biking with the kids, a helmet must be on every head! We wore a helmet from our first attempts on a scooter or bicycle, and now there are no daily battles over the helmet. What’s more, Olivia herself reminds us when we forget to put on ourselves or her helmet and makes sure that other children also have a helmet :)
With a helmet, it’s a bit like a car seat – it has to fit, fit and buckle properly. So what if we buy the most expensive and best car seat if we install it wrong or leave slack when fastening the child? The same with a helmet – it must be fitted, tried on before buying, well fastened…. Let’s take care of security from A to Z, not selectively. A helmet is not pro forma, it’s head protection.
Oh, and an important note when it comes to the helmet. It is recommended that children wear a helmet even when riding as a passenger in a trailer and bike seat! We emphasize this because we ourselves were once unaware parents who rented a trailer, so praised, so safe, and did not think about the helmet….
We are now living in a time when children are being huffed and puffed at. He brings up under a lampshade, restricts even contact with other children, so that God forbid they get sick….
We don’t mind running in puddles, playing in the sand, rolling in the mud as long as it’s safe and no one gets hurt. However, when it comes to moving safely in traffic, whether around the house, on the way to school or on distant trips, there is no forgiveness :) And it’s not about using punishments and rewards, shouting, but about education from an early age. Explaining, showing, shining by example.
Sound too perfect and easy? We know that the tips we have given and the examples we have cited will not always and will not work for everyone. Because every parent knows his or her child best and knows what will work and what won’t, but it’s worth it to be aware, try and strive in small steps towards the goal.
PS. You can find the rules on the website safeschools.michelin.co.uk, whose
on the road should be observed by the youngest, collected in an attractive form of colorful
A primer along with games to facilitate learning. The whole thing can also be downloaded and printed.
The entry was created in collaboration with the Michelin brand as part of the #SafelyToSchool campaign.