With clocks going back tomorrow (29 October), Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) have issued advice for parents on how to make the school run safer this winter.

How does your child get to school? Many children opt to walk to school, which is great for both physical and mental health and can be a great start to the day. Cycling is also another good option and sees children develop lifelong bike skills and confidence. However, as the clocks go back and mornings get darker, traveling to school on foot or by bike becomes more dangerous.

Prevention Manager at AF&RS Meghann Elvin said: “We think it’s excellent that many children are walking or cycling to school in our area and want to help you to encourage them do this safely.”

“There are some simple adjustments you can make to ensure that they go off to school prepared so that you have peace of mind.”

AF&RS say:

  • Test and learn. Before allowing your child to walk to school without an adult, spend time walking with them. Check their understanding of the road, where to cross, what to look out for and make sure they know the route. Only let them walk without you when you are confident that they can be safe.
  • Be visible. Ensure that your child has something that is ‘high vis’ or reflective on them at all times when walking or cycling. For example, this could be a bike helmet, armband, jacket or bag charm. This helps them be seen by motorists and other road users.
  • Stick together. Arrange for your child to walk or cycle with other children, and perhaps take it in turns to walk with the group as a responsible adult.
  • Follow the light. Even if it takes longer, it’s always better to walk where it is well-lit.

Meghann added: “We know that all parents want to keep their children safe and that sometimes walking or cycling in the dark is unavoidable. By following our advice, you can send your little one off to school with the knowledge that they’re traveling safely.”