At Kids College we are proud to be part of the SDERA Schools Drug Education and Road Aware Smart Steps initiative since the start of Kids College.
Smart Steps is a road safety program for educators of young children under the age of eight. It facilitates a partnership between early childhood educators and parents/carers to guide young children’s learning in becoming safe and independent road users of the future. The three main components to Smart Steps include:-passenger safety, pedestrian safety and safety on wheels.
The whole system is set up not just to be a quick incursion for a single day to be forgotten so quickly, but it allows us to teach and reinforce such important road safety messages in our programming all the time, really embedding these messages into the fabric of who we are.
Road safety should be something all children grow up with, just like wearing hats or using sunscreen, not as something unusual but ingrained into their everyday ideals and routines.
SDERA has a range of road safety education programs that target children and young people from birth to 18 years of age, and their parents and carers. These programs are funded by the Road Safety Commission and contribute to the road safety strategy in Western Australia.
Smart Steps for early childhood
Smarts Steps is an early childhood road safety education program that has a great range of road safety education information and resources for early childhood educators, families and anyone transporting young children. The resources for educators, parents and young children include activities and ideas to build the concepts of staying safer while travelling as passengers, pedestrians and users of bikes and wheeled toys. There are different for different age groups. The program works particularly for 0 to 4 year old’s and their families.
Why road safety education for parents and carers of 0 to 4 year olds
No one is born knowing how to safely use the road system
Young children internalise their parents values
Early education impacts on the safety behaviours of 0 to 4 year olds through their school years and beyond
Parents and carers are more likely to be open to persuasion and commitment
Early childhood education provides an emotional window to a wide range of road users
Parents are well placed to be role models.
Izzy is the road safety mascot
Izzy is SDERA’s road safety mascot who knows how to stay safe in the traffic environment. Izzy features in three storybooks, games, songs, stories and cooking activities, and also visits early childhood centres and schools to share road safety education messages with young children.
Key road safety messages for children in the early years:
- Hold hands with an adult before you cross the road.
- Stop! Look! Listen! Think! before you cross the road.
- Buckle up, every time you go for a ride in the car.
Izzy’s road safety storybook
Road safety mascot Izzy features in these three storybooks: Izzy in the Park, Izzy in the City and Izzy on Holiday. They have age-appropriate road safety messages for your young children such as ‘buckle up’, ‘hold my hand’ and ‘always play away from roads’.
National Practices for Early Childhood and Road Safety Education
Road safety education must be informed by research and developmentally appropriate. The Smart Steps: Making Safer Choices – Taking Smarter Steps program has adopted the eight National Practices for Early Childhood Road Safety Education (Waters, Baker, &; Bruce, 2012) which are research-based and aligned to the practices in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
Why is it important children learn road safety?
Every day children and young people are interacting with the road and traffic system either as a passenger, pedestrian, cyclist or driver. Road safety education in early childhood education aims to prepare and equip this vulnerable road user group with the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes. These are important messages that all children need to grow up with.
Presents for children at Kids College from Izzy the road safety mascot
At Kids College we got to meet Izzy, the SDERA road safety mascot. Teacher Cathy read Izzy’s story books to the children and we gave the children a book, sicker and an Izzy fluffy toy to take home. Road safety messages are embedded into all of our learning opportunities mat sessions, outside on our bike track and through our artwork creations. We even have a few fluffy toy Izzy’s who live in our classrooms and play and learn with the children.
Click clack front and back teaching children to always wear a seat belt. The safety door teaching the safest door to enter and exit cars, on the footpath side, not the traffic side. Safer journeys with no distractions to the driver. Using public transport and being patient.
Pedestrian safety covers Hands are for holding, when to stop, safer places to cross, hazards when working, car parks, crossing the road.
Playing safely which covers using safety equipment like helmets and where to play safely.
Sensing traffic teaches road signs and signals, traffic sounds and being seen.
The songs for our topics
Safe crossing the road
Eyes ears brain and hands
(Sung to tune of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes)
Eyes, ears, brain and hands brain and hands (repeat)
So stop, look, listen and think before you cross
Eyes, ears, brain and hands
Brain and hands
Safe crossing Actions
Stop, – old one hand in front of body
Look – use both hands to open up eyes
Listen – cup behind one ear
Think – place a finger to the temple and look left and right
Cross safely – pretend to hold one person’s hand and walk on the spot
Obey the traffic light
Twinkle Twinkle Traffic light
(sung to the tune of Twinkle twinkle little star)
Twinkle twinkle traffic light,
Watching roads, day and night
Red says ‘Stop’
Green says ‘Go’
Amber says ‘time to slow”
Twinkle twinkle traffic light
Watching roads, day and night
Put on your seatbelt
Buckled up tight
(sung to the tune of The Wheels on the bus)
The seatbelts in the car get buckled up tight
Buckled up tight, buckled up tight
The seatbelts in the car get buckled up tight
Every trip in the car.
I’m a little seatbelt
(sung to the tune of I’m a little teapot)
I’m a little seatbelt in your car
I stay buckled up when you go near or far
When you reach your shopping spot
Then you shout
‘Unbuckle my seatbelt and let me out!’
Smart Steps training for professionals
Jennifer has completed the Smart Steps professional development and is qualified to run a Smart Steps session for parents and carers helping young children develop skills, behaviours and attitudes to become safer whilst travelling as passengers, pedestrians and users of bikes and wheeled toys.
The Smart Steps professional learning workshop provided us with the opportunity to:
- explore why children are at risk in the traffic environment
- unpack the Smart Steps resources that focus on passenger safety, pedestrian safety and safety on wheels
- consider how to guide children to becoming safer road users and embed road safety education in early learning curriculum and practices
- discuss strategies that can engage parents and carers in their children’s road safety education.
Smart Steps videos for parents
Smart Steps resources include suggestions and videos on how to teach children to cross roads safely, all about car restraints, where to play safely and how to be a safe passenger. To view the short videos please click on the following links:
The Road Safety Booklet for Parents and Carers
The Smart Steps: Road Safety Booklet for Parents and Carers has key road safety messages for parents to use and share with children such as – always hold a grown up’s hand when crossing the road.
Guide to child car restraints
It is the law that all children under 16 years of age, when travelling in a motor vehicle in Western Australia, must be restrained in a suitable restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened.
Visit the Child Car Seats website for more information on buying a child car restraint.
Child Car restraints Advice
It is the law that all children under 16 years of age, when travelling in a motor vehicle in Western Australia, must be restrained in a suitable restraint that is properly adjusted and fastened. Visit the Child Car Seats website for more information on buying a child car restraint.
Top 10 ways to keep children as safe as possible while travelling in motor vehicles
- The use of any restraint is preferable to not using a restraint. It is the law that each person in a motor vehicle has their own restraint.
- Infants are safest if they remain in their rear facing restraint as long as they still fit in their rear facing restraint. While the law allows children over 6 months to use either a rear facing restraint or a forward facing restraint, the rear facing restraint offers better protection as long as the child fits in it.
- Once a child is too tall for their rear facing child restraint, they should use a forward- facing child restraint (with built-in 6 point harness) until they are too tall for it. While the law allows children 4 years and older to use either a forward-facing child restraint or a booster seat, the forward-facing child restraint offers better protection as long as the child fits in it.
- Once a child is too tall for a forward facing child restraint, they should use a booster seat with a lap-sash seat belt until they are tall enough to fit properly into an adult seat belt. While the law allows children 7 years and older to use either a booster seat or a seat belt by itself, a booster seat offers better protection as long as the child fits in it.
- For a child in a booster seat or an adult seatbelt, use a seating position with a lap-sash (lap and shoulder) belt in preference to one with a lap-only belt.
- All child restraints and booster seats must be installed correctly and the child strapped in correctly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions:
- Always use a top tether strap for all rearward facing child restraints, forward facing child restraints and booster seats that have them.
- Always thread the seatbelt through the correct path (following the colour coding available for newer restraints).
- Ensure there is no slack or looseness in any part of the system. Check the harness straps around the child, the top tether, the seatbelt anchoring the restraint to the vehicle, and the seatbelt used by a child in a booster seat.
- Check that the seat belt is buckled before each trip.
- Children 12 years of age and under are safest in the rear seat.
- Seat belts should never be used with the sash belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back, whether they are being used alone or with a booster seat.
- When planning any journey with children, use a motor vehicle which allows each child to be in the appropriate restraint for their size.
- Regularly check that child restraints are correctly installed and that the restraint is adjusted properly for the child’s size according to the restraint users’ manual. Using a restraint fitting service will help ensure that everything is used correctly and that your child is as safe as possible.
Kids College Philosophy quote
‘We have stringent hygiene, health, nutrition, maintenance, safety and protection standards. We take our duty of care very seriously and will safeguard the safety and wellbeing of our children at all times as a matter of utmost priority.’
National Quality Standards
2.2.2 Incident and emergency management. plans to effectively manage incidents and emergencies are developed in consultation with relevant authorities, practiced and implemented.
2.2.1 Supervision. At all times, reasonable precautions and adequate supervision ensure children are protected from harm and hazard.
Kids College family
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Please let us know if you have any comments, queries or recommendations.
Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us onJennifer@kidscollege.com.au
With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family