It’s Child Safety Week this week and I thought a piece on the Green Cross Code would be useful for you all. Obviously it is important to teach children to think for themselves and to make decisions on their own for their own safety, but when do you start teaching them all about it?
So the major safety concern for babies is carseat safety, i.e. is it the right one for the baby, is it the right one for the car, is it the right one for the use it is intended for? Are they comfortable in it? Is car travel a happy experience for them? Does the car seat fit properly in the car? Is it being checked before each and every journey? Is the airbag turned off if the seat is in the front? Do you know the history of the seat? (second-hand seats can be dangerous because you don’t know what has happened to them previously). Also, in both car seats and pushchairs, it is much safer to use a 5-point harness as they distribute pressure across more points on the body. Ensure that any second-hand pushchair is hygienic, in full working order and importantly, safe.
As soon as they reach toddlerhood, and mobile (!) it is ever more important to keep them secure while in the car and secure while on the move. They are more liable to wriggle out of any restraint, so ensure that it is tight enough (2-finger test) and that it is in the right position for their height and weight. Keep them entertained with play trays or books, or music. In terms of walking about, hold their hand a lot, and talk to them about the rules of the road as you go. Don’t expect them to remember them just yet though, as the new sights and sounds are far too distracting!
Once they reach 5 years of age, they will now be using a booster seat in the car, and the adult seat belt is definitely easier to escape from than a 5-point harness. It is now that you should start actively teaching them about the Green Cross Code, and advice is to begin this by setting a good example, and explaining why you are doing particular things. For example, crossing the road. And it is from now on, especially up to at least 9 years of age, when they can better judge speed and distance when using the road that you as a parent has the major role to play in their learning and understanding. Naturally, they will be taught to a degree at school about bicycle rules, cycling proficiency, and other similar things as well.
See this website for more information: http://www.capt.org.uk/safety-advice/keeping-your-child-safe-car and http://think.direct.gov.uk/education/early-years-and-primary/parents/7-to-11s/the-green-cross-code/
Some products to keep them entertained during boring car journeys:
Soft Safari Book
Giraffe Rattle and Jiggle
Tiny Love Travel Wonder Wheel Farm