Teaching children about road safety

Children's Road Safety, News

Keeping safe on the road is a vital life skill. As a global partner of the Child Health Initiative EASST aims to ensure a safe and healthy journey to and from school for every child by 2030 as part of their right to receive an education, breathe clean air and travel safely.

There is a strand of thinking in road safety that educating children is simply too long term to achieve results. EASST agrees that, on its own, focusing on teaching children will not achieve the SDG road safety goals in time. However, we strongly believe in the need for children’s road safety education as part of an overall strategy for reducing road risk. Children are also able to take road safety lessons home to parents and influence their decisions and family habits.

Prior to 2014, our EASST partners shared with us the road safety educational materials typically used in their countries. These generally focused on teaching children ‘the rules of the road’ – speed limits, recognising street signs, and knowing the law. In almost every country, the materials produced were the same whether the child was 5 or 15 years old, and relied on memorisation rather than engagement with the issues. We developed our EASST Road Safety Education Pack as a response to this: to introduce child-centred and locally relevant teaching materials that both children and teachers can enjoy.

The EASST Road Safety Education Pack is a free, global teaching resource that provides stimulating and engaging activities to introduce road safety messages and behaviours to kids. The pack has been developed in co-operation with our EASST partners as well as UK and international road safety experts, including the UK Government’s Think! Campaign, the charity Brake, and YOURS (Youth for Road Safety). It has been tailored to reflect the risks, challenges, and conditions in low and middle-income countries in an age-appropriate way.

The topics in each section of the pack vary according to age group, but they all relate to the key principles of road safety. It uses exercises and activities that are fun and engaging, taking children on a journey from being a young toddler crossing the road holding their mother’s hand, right through to being an independent young adult travelling alone or with friends.

Since 2014, EASST partners have been using the pack to transform road safety education. Each partner has tailored the pack for use in their country: translating it into local languages and using local names and idiom so it looks and feels like a locally-produced resource. As of the International Day of Education 2020, it is available in 11 languages (not only from the EASST region), and is being translated into others including Arabic. Across the region, the pack has been used to teach over 25,000 children the basic skills of road safety as well as training teachers, police officers, students, parents, and others, on how to deliver effective and relevant road safety education year after year.

To help with this process we have developed an online short-course to guide teachers and other education providers on how they can best use the pack to bring vital road safety learning to even more children globally. The course includes seven short videos on each aspect of the pack, including an example of the pack being used in a real-life setting to train pre-school children in Minsk, Belarus.

The course is available for free via the EASST Academy online road safety training platform meaning it is accessible 24/7 in every world region.