Why are young children at risk around traffic?

Social/Emotional Development

Young children are

  •  Sociable and want to be ‘Where the action is’
  •  All different, so what works with one child may not work with another
  • They also see themselves as ‘big boys’ or ‘big girls’ and want to do things by themselves .

Physical Development

Young children are

  • Fast and can quickly move from safety into danger
  • Small and difficult for drivers to see, especially behind a reversing vehicle
  • Still developing reflexes and reactions so stopping can take longer
  • Fragile so injuries are likely to be severe

Cognitive Development

Young children are

  • Curious and keen to explore and learn about their surroundings
  • Yet to understand ‘danger’ and what to do to keep safe
  • Often easily distracted but can also be really focused on what is important to them
  • Still developing their ability to judge the speed and distance of moving vehicles and what these mean
  • Inexperienced as road users and can be confused by sudden changes in the traffic environment
  • Still developing their understanding of sound and direction and what these mean

They also

  • Understand cause and effect differently to adults when in traffic
  • Interpret what they may see in their peripheral vision differently to adults
  • Can say safety words and slogans but are not yet able to apply

Children’s behaviour can’t be explained in terms of just one developmental area.

It is the interaction of the cognitive, social/emotional and physical aspects of their development that puts young children at risk in and around traffic.

Adults are responsible for the safety of young children!

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