Monday 26 September 2016

Watching out for your children's safety near home, on your driveway

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

Where possible, reverse your vehicle into the driveway or parking space.
Where possible, reverse your vehicle into the driveway or parking space.

As schools around the country close for the Easter holidays, what better time to launch our new series of videos focusing on child safety on or near driveways and in housing estates.

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With brighter evenings and better weather hopefully on the horizon too, the videos are the perfect tools for parents to help keep their children safe.

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.

Between 2010 and last year, 38 children aged 14 years and under were killed on Irish roads.

The most recent 'Child Casualty Report' found that 41pc of all child fatalities occurred in built-up areas.

In the same period, half of road-related serious injuries among children occurred as a result of a collision in a built-up area.

The new videos 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.

They give step-by-step guidance on the different checks and routines drivers can use when travelling with children, or in areas 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.

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 videos have lots of useful tips and include:

• 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.

A really good habit to develop is a '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 those of any passengers, is properly fitted.

Finally, check your fuel gauge and make sure all system warning lights go out as expected.

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.

* The videos are available to view on the RSA's YouTube page, www.youtube.com/RSAIreland

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