Just taking a few simple steps could help save a child’s life in Kent this winter, as Lauren Abbott reports
Did you know that kitting a child out with fluorescent clothing makes them 15 times more visible during the day?
Or making them wear reflective materials at night will help motorists see them 150 metres sooner than they otherwise would?
As the days get shorter as we head towards winter, we have teamed up with Kent County Council Road Safety to help children and their families in Be Bright Be Seen. it can sometimes be difficult to see pedestrians and cyclists when visibility is poor. But as a parent, grandparent or someone who has young children in your care, there are plenty of practical steps you can also take to ensure your children are visible near traffic, going above and beyond the road safety lessons they can learn at school.
As most school uniforms are dark, if your child’s school does not have rules regarding outer garments, selecting a brightly coloured winter coat isthe first thing you can do to help your child be seen in the dark. Failing that, ensure your child, their coat and school bags carry fluorescent and reflective armbands or strips.
It is worth remembering that bright or fluorescent clothing shows up best during the day or in dull, misty weather and can make pedestrians and cyclists up to 15 times more visible.
However, fluorescent clothing does not work at night and it is here you will need reflective material which will show up when caught by car headlights. Doing so will give motorists five times longer to react to what they see ahead of them. And if your child uses a bike or scooter during their journey to and from school, it is just as important to light up their ride as much as them. KCC road safety officers are also keen that parents think ahead when it comes to their children’s journeys, taking into account extra curricular activities or later finishes from school that mean they may be making a return journey home in the dark.
Road safety officer Sheila Spiers said: “It is important that parents get their children to plan ahead if they are going to something after school. This is very often forgotten as they have left in the morning, forgetting it will be dark when they return.”
A reflective jacket, for example, is a worthwhile addition to any school bag. Sheila added: “A combination of shorter daylight and dark clothing always makes pedestrians’ and cyclists’ visibility a concern at this time of year. This campaign perfectly illustrates how something as simple as making a decision on what clothing you wear could potentially save your life.”