According to the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española (RAE)), a teacher is a person who teaches science-based or arts-based subjects. Nevertheless, it could be said that teachers go far beyond this definition, given that they play a fundamental role in the development and education of young children. Road safety is of vital importance and should be present both inside and outside the classroom, given that this is how we raise awareness and prevent accidents now and in the future.
Road safety is currently taught in schools in a number of different subjects or through accident prevention programs. The commitment of schools and teachers means that it is increasingly being taught at the different stages of the child's education and throughout the school year. Nevertheless, an ideal option would be for it to have its own subject in order to help teach future drivers and pedestrians to be more aware and responsible.
The data shows that good work is being done to raise awareness and road safety. Although road accidents continue to be among the main causes of death among children, it has nevertheless been decreasing over the years. In fact, in 9 years the number of fatalities under 14 years old has gone down by 74.7%. Likewise, the number of hospitalized injured persons within this age range has gone down by 40.03%. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go to reach ‘Goal Zero’.
However, not all the burden should fall on teachers. Road safety education should of course start at home. Parents should be setting a good example of correct behavior behind the wheel and should be the ones who, in the end, decide whether or not to take their children by car with suitable child restraint systems. Teachers should reinforce this good conduct and, undoubtedly, encourage the use of child car seats and highlight how useful and important they are in the classroom. This is something which will prove extremely useful if the child is somewhat resistant to using them.
Teachers can influence students in the same way as parents by teaching them about the importance of traveling safely and how to do it: taking a look at the legislation, demonstrating the different types of child car seats on the market and which is the most suitable CRS for each child, why it is important to travel in a child seat for long and short journeys, how they should conduct themselves as pedestrians and how they should travel properly by bus or bicycle. An inspiring teacher can reinforce and bring out the best in each child. It is worth recalling that children learn through observation and imitation.
Being aware of this important work, Fundación MAPFRE wants to help teachers with this task and to provide specific resources and materials which they can use on a daily basis through a detailed educational program Fundación MAPFRE also has a road safety education caravan and a children's road safety park. Naturally, access to all the materials is free.