Road Safety Week takes place on 19th-25th November and is an annual event organised by road safety charity Brake. Brake works to prevent road death and injury, as well as raising funds to support the victims of road crashes.

As part of Road Safety Week, thousands of tots and infants participate in Beep Beep! Day, which will take place on Wednesday 21st November. It’s a great way to educate children about road safety through themed activities, whilst also raising awareness amongst parents and families about how to protect children on Britain’s roads.

Promoting life-saving messages and awareness around road safety for children is vital, especially when you consider the statistics from the latest accident report by the Department for Transport. It found that there were 15,976 child casualties in 2016, of which 38% were pedestrians.

The report stated that, in 2016, 2,033 children were seriously injured in road traffic accidents and 69 died. Notably, over a third of these accidents occurred during the hours of 7 am-9 am or 3 pm-5 pm on a weekday, which coincides with the time children are normally going to or leaving school.

Activities for your setting to take part in

It’s vitally important to help shape children’s understanding of road safety and ingrain this from an early age – these lessons will help to keep tots safe whilst they’re young and also stay with them as they get older.

To take part in Beep Beep! Day, here are some ideas to get you started:

Get colourful! Have your children dress up in some bright clothing to wear for the day, whether it be hats, tops or socks, to emphasise the importance of drivers slowing down to watch out for pedestrians crossing the road.

Make a handprint poster of all the children’s hands to display in your welcome area, so that everyone understands the importance of holding hands with a grown-up whilst near a road. You could make the heading of this poster “Going home? Hold hands!”

Play stop and go games – make mock roads in your playground and use props to signify traffic lights and zebra crossings. Children could take turns to be ‘drivers’ on a ride-on-scooter or bike, supervised by staff. They could also practice crossing pretend roads safely. Your local authority road safety team may be able to lend you some equipment to help with this activity, too.

Teach children a road safety song with new verses for familiar songs such as Wheels on the Bus. For example, swap the lyrics to: “The children and the grown-ups all hold hands, all hold hands, all hold hands”.

Invite a VIP to your setting to talk about road safety – this could be a police community support officer, the fire brigade or a local lollipop lady. Make sure your chosen “VIP” understands the message you are trying to deliver to children such as hold hands with an adult when crossing, stay on pavements and away from dangerous traffic etc.

Play a sound game by recording noises in advance such as those of an ambulance, car or pelican crossing. Let the children listen and guess what they are. Talk to your group about key road safety words such as pavement, kerb, road, car, danger, traffic, stop, look and listen.

Teach children about safe places – make a giant poster of pavements, roads and parks and cut out a selection of pictures from old magazines of people, buggies, dogs and vehicles. Ask children to stick the images in the safest places: people on pavements, vehicles on roads.

Consider raising money for Brake by holding a bake sale! Why not bake yummy traffic light-themed biscuits or cupcakes, with all money raised to be donated to the charity? For a healthier alternative you could offer traffic light fruit during break-time such strawberries, kiwis or mango.

To help your setting’s Beep Beep! Day go off with a bang, Brake is providing organisers with free e-resource packs or, for a fee of £12.50, a bumper pack for 50 children. The bumper pack includes stickers and certificates for children taking part, promotional posters, activity and song cards and even balloons! Find out more from the charity’s website.

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