7 tips for a safe route to school in the dark season

7 Tipps für einen sicheren Schulweg in der dunklen Jahreszeit

The journey to school is often the first journey that children are allowed to take alone. You get to know where you live better, make friends and become safer on the road. Making your way to school independently is an important step in child development. Claudia Neumann from DGerman children's charity explained:

"Children who walk to school actively perceive their surroundings. They learn to orient themselves well and take care of themselves. This strengthens their self-confidence - also for other life situations." 

 1) Children are not small adults

Due to their physical development, children hear and see differently than adults. They also cannot yet correctly estimate speeds and distances. They should therefore only ride their bikes to school after taking the cycling test in fourth grade. It is therefore important to look at the way to school from the child's eyes and to practice the way to school in advance.

2) Choose the safest route and not the shortest route

Which path should the child take? Walking down a quiet street without a sidewalk can be riskier than walking along a busy street with traffic lights and crosswalks.

So the shortest route is not always the safest. It makes sense to work together to determine the safest possible route.

3) The route is more fun with two or three people

Friends in the neighborhood are something particularly nice not only in everyday life but also on the way to school. The journey is much more fun together and the children can also practice the correct behavior in traffic together, because the following applies: four eyes see more than just two!

4) Discuss an emergency plan

For example, what happens if unforeseen things occur? For example, if the school bus breaks down or breaks down? There should be some kind of emergency plan so that the children know how they should behave in such situations and who they can turn to for help.



Junge mit Warnweste in der Dämmerung auf dem Fahrrad

5) The right equipment for the way to school

“Pedestrians and cyclists are three times more likely to have an accident at dusk and early in the morning than during the day. In rain, snow and fog it can even increase tenfold,” explains the Accident Risk Advice Center (bfu).

Therefore, clothing must be light enough so that drivers can easily see the child. Are particularly effective LED safety vests for children, which contain both reflectors and LED lights. These make children visible in traffic three times earlier than conventional reflector vests.

Weatherproof clothing, the right footwear and, for children who already cycle to school, a helmet are also essential.

6) Be careful at the bus stop

Your child goes to school by bus? Explain to him how to behave properly at the bus stop. Make it clear to your child that they are not allowed to cross the street until the bus has left the stop. Otherwise the bus driver may miss your child!

Running to the bus or jostling to get on is also dangerous! Make it clear to your child that they should behave calmly at the bus stop and during the bus ride.

7) Be a role model

Children imitate the behavior of those they trust everywhere in everyday life. Of course, the same applies to behavior in traffic. So make sure that you behave in traffic the way you want your child to behave.

Wear appropriate clothing including a helmet and high-visibility vest in traffic, follow the traffic rules and be sure to explain to your child from time to time how best and safest to act in certain situations.