As mornings get darker and afternoons get shorter, resident Proviz nutritionist and mum of three, Issy Lowndes, looks at what you can do to keep your kids safe if they’re walking to school.
Are you noticing that when you draw the curtains in the morning you feel like you should be getting back into bed because it is not quite ‘morning enough’ to be getting up? Autumn and winter hold some wonderful things, but the shorter days are full of challenges – safety and visibility being two of them.
This is especially true if your child walks to and from school – either on their own or with you. It is essential that everyone can see them – drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and even other pedestrians. Add in a scooter or a bike and the variables soon rack up. That doesn’t mean you should stop walking to and from school – it is such a great way to make sure kids get some fresh air and exercise – but it’s worth putting a few things in place to help keep them protected.
I know I have been caught out by fading light in the past. I’ve picked up the kids from school – one in a buggy and two on scooters (this after much pleading that I bring their scooters at home time) – and by the time I finished talking to other mums, collected all of the children’s belongings, hung it all on the buggy, the evening had already started to set in. The kids’ school uniform is dark, their coats are dark, their hair is even dark….we were lucky to get home in one piece.
Just like adult cyclists, runners and commuters, it’s worth investing in some kit that can help boost your children’s chances of being seen by other road users. For starters, no black coats. High visibility colours are good for daylight hours, reflective is better in the dark. That’s why Proviz developed a junior version of its best-selling REFLECT360 jacket. I know from experience that kids love the fact that when they wear the jacket they literally ‘glow in the dark’.
If you’d rather not replace your child’s jacket, just yet, there are other things you can do to boost their visibility:
The REFLECT360 Children's Outdoor Jacket is the world's first to be manufactured using 100% reflective material.
If your child is at secondary school, then chances are you are no longer chaperoning them. Walking to and from school is one of the first lessons in independence that we learn. As well as the right kit, it’s worth taking some time to help them understand why they need to keep safe and what they can do to help themselves. There are some excellent support and education programmes available:
The trip to and from school can be a great opportunity to walk the dog, so why not invest in a Proviz REFLECT360 waterproof dog coat? The coat was created after requests from customers, including one whose pup slipped his leash while out at night and ran into the road. The customer was wearing his Proviz REFLECT360 jacket, which caused a driver to stop because of the movement. However, the driver had not seen the dog.
The reflective capability of our REFLECT360 material helps other road users to identify a runner or cyclist’s position on the road at night.