On the way to and from school, children gather valuable experience that can have a positive influence on their development. After the long hours in the classroom they can get out into the fresh air and interact with their schoolmates. Depending on the distance and the difficulties involved, children may go on foot, by bicycle or by bus. However, the route to and from school can also harbour risks. According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu), five to nine-year-olds are most at risk as pedestrians, while ten to fourteen-year-olds are most at risk as cyclists. What is important is that children are made aware of the dangers on the roads at an early age.
Avoiding accidents: prepare your child
- As parents, make sure you always act as a role model in road traffic situations.
- Practise the route to school with your child and show your child how to cross the street safely before the first day at school.
- Choose the safest – not necessarily the shortest – route to school.
- Allow sufficient time for your child to get to school calmly and without haste.
- If your child rides a bike to school, make sure that it is roadworthy and that your child always wears a helmet.
- Explain to your child the other dangers he or she might encounter on the way: impress upon your child the importance of never going with strangers and keeping a critical distance from people they do not know.
Shed light on the darkness
When it is dark, car drivers only see pedestrians or cyclists from a distance of 25 metres. For children, this means that the dark early-morning trip to school during the winter months poses a particularly increased risk for accidents. If it is also raining or snowing, the risk of not being seen by drivers can be as much as ten times greater than it is during daylight hours. Parents should therefore take extra precautions to ensure the safety of their children during the hours of darkness. Get your child to wear light clothing on the way to school and make sure the clothing is fitted with light-reflecting material. This may take the form of arm bands, stickers or tags that can be fixed to shoes, jackets and rucksacks, for example. Reflectors are required by law for bicycles, as are bicycle lamps that are in good working order.
A list of light-reflecting products awarded the bfu safety labels can be found here.
Optimally insured against accidents
Despite all the precautions, there is still a chance that a child may suffer an accident on the way to or from school or during play time. If an accident does happen, it is important that your child has the best possible insurance cover. SWICA’s INFORTUNA plan for treatment costs offers your child comprehensive insurance and covers all accident-related treatment costs without any limits, worldwide. INFORTUNA capital insurance additionally protects your child against the financial consequences of disability resulting from an accident. For further information on SWICA products and the ideal insurance cover for your child, please contact SWICA Client Services.
19 October 2016