Be Be

Just tak­ing a few sim­ple steps could help save a child’s life in Kent this win­ter, as Lau­ren Ab­bott re­ports

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Bonfire Night Special -

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.”

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