Holiday safety: Road-safety tips all parents should brush up on

2017-07-04 12:34 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - With the school holidays finally here, families are preparing to hit the roads for a winter break if they haven’t already made their way to destinations across the country.

But whether your kids are playing on a road outside your property, in a vehicle with you or using public transport, there are safety measures you must take to ensure their well-being.

Western Cape Government shares tips for child pedestrian safety, road trip child passenger care, and tips for children using public transport.

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“Children tend to spend more time on the roads, as passengers, cyclists or pedestrians during school holidays,” says Western Cape Government, adding that on clear winter days children often choose to play outside.

As older children may also walk to where they want to be instead of being driven there, Western Cape Government shares some child pedestrian safety tips and safety measures to take when your kids play outside.

Child visibility road safety tips

  • Pedestrians must be highly visible to motorists, especially children.
  • Bright, reflective clothing is a must, and should be non-negotiable for children, especially those under the age of ten years.
  • Children love glo-sticks and parents may find they are receptive to wearing these potentially life-saving devices.
  • Reflective patches, ponchos, hats and umbrellas can all save your life and that of a child.

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Motorists also have the responsibility of noting that there will be more child pedestrians during holidays, and are asked to be extra cautious, drive slowly and ensure that all their car lights are working.

Child passenger safety on road trips 

“We encourage parents and caregivers to drive responsibly and ensure that all children are buckled up at all times,” says Western Cape Government.

“Children under the age of 3 years must be secured in an appropriate car seat. It’s the law and the responsible thing to do.”

Road trip tip: Keep children occupied in a vehicle to reduce distraction to driving.

The Automobile Association (AA) says child passengers can be kept occupied while travelling with games and puzzles, snack packs, taking sufficient rest stops, watching movies on portable car movie players and listening to music.

Drivers must also ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy. See this video for safety tips for your vehicle:

Tips for children using public transport

“Bus trips are a favourite among children and their safety must be a top priority,” advises the Western Cape Government.

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Arrive Alive gives some useful tips to adults travelling with children on a bus:

  • Always leave the bus with children in front of you, never behind.
  • If you are travelling with small children, make sure they are well supervised.
  • Board public transport with your children to prevent getting separated from them.
  • It is important for children, especially young children who might struggle to communicate, to be prepared for emergencies by carrying a means of identification, information about next of kin and their contact numbers, allergies, medical conditions, and medical fund details.
  • Children, even older ones, may find it difficult to cross busy roads and can often be seen crossing in front of or behind a bus after getting off. It is important for an adult to assist children to cross roads, especially during holidays when vehicle and foot traffic is much higher.

Read more about Arrive Alive's bus passenger safety tips here.

Travellers, take note

In addition to ensuring child safety on roads during school holidays, travellers are warned to be extra wary of scammers and con-artists as fraudsters during holiday season.

Cyber crime, last-minute travel booking scams, and even child trafficking increases during busy holiday periods. Read more on how to avoid being a victim of this here.

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