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|8 Out Of 10 Mums Say|
A study has revealed that seven out of ten parents cite road safety as the top concern they have for their children.
The second and third most common worries are bullying and children talking to strangers, followed by issues ranging from safety in the home to sex education. The study suggests parents' fears are well founded with one in five admitting that their children have been involved in road incidents that gave them 'cause for concern'. It is estimated that those incidents affected up to 1.7 million children aged 11 and under.
Despite concerns about road safety, only one in four parents surveyed said that their children will wear high visibility clothing as they navigate the dangers of darker evenings this winter. As a result, as many as 6.2 million children aged 11 and under (74%) may be at risk due to poor visibility to cars. Wearing high visibility clothing significantly reduces the risks that children face on the roads during winter months. Children wearing high visibility clothing are visible from up to 160 metres away, compared with 30 metres for those not wearing it. This extra visibility makes a huge difference when compared with driver braking distances. For instance a driver travelling at 40 miles per hour will travel around 36 metres before coming to a halt, putting children without high visibility clothing at significantly higher risk.
In response, TOTAL, who commissioned the study, has joined forces with the Local Authority Road Safety Officers' Association (LARSOA) to launch the Brighten Up Little Learners road safety campaign. Together, TOTAL and LARSOA are urging parents and teachers to make sure young children, aged six and under, are taught basic road safety skills and wear high visibility, reflective clothing this winter.
Malcolm Jones, Managing Director, TOTAL UK said: 'It is very sad that so many young children are hurt and killed on our roads, especially when simple steps like teaching good road safety practice and wearing high visibility clothing can make such a huge difference. We are committed to making roads safer for this vulnerable age group, which is why we want even more parents and teachers to use our free Little Learners resources. In addition, to help parents protect their children during the winter months, we are making affordable high visibility clothing for children available across our forecourt network.'
The importance of wearing high visibility clothing is further highlighted by official road safety figures from the Department for Transport. During 2006, 5,717 children aged six and under were injured in road accidents, of which 40 were tragically killed and a further 642 seriously injured. Crucially, it is estimated that between October and December around half of road accidents involving children occur between 3pm and 6pm when visibility is likely to be poor.
According to the study, parents are unsure who should be responsible for teaching road safety skills to children. Whilst 61% feel that road safety should form an important part of the school curriculum, 88% take on full responsibility themselves because they are not satisfied that it is adequately covered at school.
Malcolm Burns, Chair of the Local Authority Road Safety Officers' Association (LARSOA), says 'In 2006 there was an increase in the number of child pedestrians killed on the roads. 71 child pedestrians (aged 0-15) died and the combined number of those killed or seriously injured was 2,025 - that is equal to six child pedestrians killed or seriously injured every day of the year. It is vital at this time of year when it begins to get dark as early as three in the afternoon that parents and children are aware of how essential it is to be visible to other road users. Initiatives which continue to highlight this safety issue are important in communicating this message.' Mr. Burns says 'LARSOA is also calling on the government to introduce Double British Summertime which would mean an extra hour of daylight in the evenings during the winter months. Research shows there would be between 104 and 138 fewer deaths each year.'
Facts and Figures
It is particularly important that children wear high visibility clothing during twilight, when the human eye is unable to detect colour, as objects such as pedestrians and cars appear grey
On the shortest day, 21st December, there will be just seven and a half hours of daylight
The issues that parents worry about the most
1 Road safety
2= Talking to strangers
4 Safety in the home
5 Safety in the water
6 Internet security
7 Sex education
On the roads
The THINK! Campaign advises parents to set a good example to children aged 1 to 4, to hold their hands or keep them on reins, and not allow them to ride a bike on the road. By the age of two, children are most at risk when walking or playing.
The Department for Transport's road accident statistics show that the risk of a child pedestrian being involved in a road accident rises significantly at the age when they start school
Most children up to the age of nine cannot judge how fast vehicles are going or how far away they are
THINK! advises parents to teach five year old children the Green Cross Code - STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! - and to practice crossing quiet roads at the safest place
Research carried out by YouGov. 429 parents with children aged 11 and under, surveyed 28.09.07 - 01.10.07
The pupil resource packs, which feature children's TV character BRUM produced by Ragdoll, support the Department for Transport's THINK! national road safety campaign and have been produced specifically for children aged six and under, in line with the National Curriculum. The kits are already being used by around 2,000 schools across the UK and have met with positive responses from teachers and pupils alike.
The TOTAL Little Learners pack activities use Brum to teach important road safety lessons, concentrating on four key areas:
safety on the pavement
crossing the road safely (including the Green Cross Code)
safe places to cross (including zebra, pelican and school crossings)
safety in the car
TOTAL has also created pages on the TOTAL Little Learners website - www.totallittlelearners.co.uk - where parents can download the activities. In addition, the company has made affordable high visibility clothing for children (£3.99) and FREE BRUM adventure storybooks with stickers available across its forecourt network.
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