Every October is International Walk to School Month, a whole month dedicated to the health and environmental benefits of walking to school. But whilst a little extra walking can be great for both ourselves and for the planet, it can also come with dangers. Whether you’re planning on spending the month walking to school with your little ones or you have older children who walk by themselves, here are our top tips for keeping everyone safe.
Walking With Younger Children
- If you’re going to be walking to school with your little ones, things are a little easier as you’re on hand to make sure everyone’s safe at all times. However there are still a few things you can take into account:
- Planning in advance and picking out a safe route is a good way to ensure a stress-free walk. Avoiding busy roads and crossings will help make sure your route is safer, as well as keeping little lungs away from too much pollution.
- Make sure you leave yourself enough time so you’re not rushing.
- If you’re walking with very young children, or taking younger siblings along with you, you could always invest in some safety reins. This will allow younger children to enjoy the freedom of walking by themselves while making sure they don’t wander into danger.
Keeping Older Children Safe
- The right age to let a child walk to school alone is dependent on many factors, such as how safe the route is or how mature your child is. However if the time has come to let them fly the nest and walk to school alone, there are some things you can do to make sure they’re safe:
- One of the most crucial aspects of staying safe on any walk is good road safety awareness. You can either practise this with your child at home and out and about or send them on a road safety course at school.
- Before they go it alone, why not practise the route to school with your child first? This can be a good way to make sure they know where they’re going and to point out any potential dangers they need to be aware of.
- Where possible, see if your little one can walk to school with a friend or a group of friends.
- Deciding what age your child should have a mobile phone is at your discretion but it can be a good idea to give them one if they’re going to walking to school alone. Young children don’t need a hi-tech smartphone; there are plenty of child-friendly devices available that will allow them to drop you a quick text to let you know they arrived safely.