Each and every one of us can do our bit for a more sustainable and eco-friendly world. One way to do our bit is by changing the way we travel, and what better way to do this than by instilling these values in our children. Do you take your children to school in a sustainable way? To mark European Mobility Week, we look at four pollution-free ways to get to school and offer tips on how to do it safely.
1-Walking: walking is undoubtedly the most efficient way to get to school. Plan your journey, calculate the time you need to get from your home to school and back safely and, of course, choose the safest route: pavements in the best condition, less traffic or better traffic regulation, with traffic lights and, if possible, along a safe school route. These are established routes that are considered safe for pedestrians and especially for children. In this article we discuss the requirements for a safe school route.
Use this route to teach children about the main road-use rules and how to walk without jeopardising their safety. Here we are talking about when they are ready to go to school on their own.
2-Bicycles: these are non-polluting. However, children must have the necessary skills and knowledge to get about on two wheels. The child's age, independence and ability to follow the regulations and comply with these must be taken into account. It should be noted that many schools have also established specific routes to encourage their pupils to cycle to school. In fact, all across Europe this means of transport is being encouraged.
It is important to remember that helmets should always be worn and the use of other protection such as elbow or knee pads is recommended, as well as reflective elements.
If the child is passenger, it is important to note that only an adult (over 18 years of age) can transport a child as a passenger if they are under 7 years of age. Children must ride in an approved seat according to the UNE-EN 14344:2005 standard. These seats have a backrest, a harness and footrests. We must make sure the seat is perfectly attached to the bicycle. Seats at the back are the most common and are attached on top of the luggage rack.
There are also front seats that attach to the bar between the saddle and the handlebars.
3-Public transport: an efficient way of getting to school that combines walking with public transport such as the underground or bus. Safety advice must be followed at all times and, of course, if the child is very young, they must be accompanied by an adult.
Remember that the safest way for a child to travel in a city bus is by using a child restraint system. However, as most seat belts are two-point belts, this is not feasible.
4-School bus: this is a much more sustainable form of transport than a private vehicle as it involves just one journey for transporting a large number of children. We remind you that all passengers over 3 years of age must use seat belts or other approved restraint systems, correctly fastened, both in urban and interurban traffic, as long as the vehicle is equipped with these.