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School reconnaissance could save your 12 year old's life

A road sign warning of a school crossing patrol ahead

29 August 2008

Parents, whose children are due to start at secondary school in September, greatly enhance their youngsters' chance of surviving the walk or cycle to school if they check the route with their children before term starts, says the AA.

A 12 year old is three times more likely to be killed or maimed while walking to school than a 10 year old.

Parents allow their children greater independence as they move into secondary school, but the transition period can be particularly dangerous, with government statistics showing a classroom of 10 year olds (28) falling victim in 2006 compared to three classes of 12 year olds (86).

Lesser injury road accidents claimed 452 of the older pupils as opposed to 131 younger ones.

"Junior school kids are walked to school by parents, but this abruptly ends with the transfer to secondary school," says Andrew Howard, AA head of road safety.

"One walk to the new school during the holidays can help the youngsters cope with the new journey: parents can spot safe places to cross and places where drivers may not behave as a child would expect. Exactly the same process can be used for cycling.

"A reconnaissance can also be well worthwhile for children who will be driven, or go by bus. Accidents happen on the way to the bus stop, or from the bus stop to school.

"Looking at the situation in advance can also help work out where a child taken by car can be safely dropped and safely go on to school. Older children who move on to another school may leave a younger sibling to walk the route alone, and this should be borne in mind too."

AA public Affairs


29 August 2008