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Road safety: 'Children must be seen and not hurt' - Wheel Well

2018-04-26 06:49

Image: Wheel Well

Johannesburg - The pilot run of the Halo Beanie Project at Eldridge Primary School in Eldorado Park with the purpose of keeping our young pedestrians safe was launched on Monday (Apr 23) by Wheel Well.

Why reflective gear for Children?

Wheel Well's Peggy Mars says: "Schoolchildren often have to wear very dark uniforms as they make their way to and from school every day. Whether they are walking, cycling or just crossing the road after being dropped off in a vehicle, it can be hard to see our darkly clad children especially on dark winter mornings and again when daylight is fading.

"Many adults are keeping themselves bright - but what about our children? It’s only fair to offer our children the same safety measures many of us take as adults - by helping them to be brighter."

Road risks

Children are at risk for road traffic injuries for a number of reasons. Younger children are limited by their physical, cognitive and social development, making them more vulnerable in road traffic than adults. Because of their small stature, it can be difficult for children to see surrounding traffic and for drivers and others to see them.

In addition if they are involved in a road traffic crash, their softer heads make them more susceptible to serious head injury than adults.

Younger children may have difficulties interpreting various sights and sounds, which may impact on their judgement regarding the proximity, speed and direction of moving vehicles.

Younger children may also be impulsive, and their short attention spans mean that they struggle to cope with more than one challenge at a time. In general roads and suburbs are planned without sufficient consideration of the specific needs of children.

Globally, around 186 300 children under 18 years die from road traffic crashes annually. In addition, rates of road traffic death among children are 3 times higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. (WHO May 2015).

In dark school clothes a child will only be visible from 10 to 30m. Considering that at 60km/h a driver covers 16.6m per second, this gives a driver no time at all to respond and react to seeing a young pedestrian. With white clothing the visibility increases to about 60m.

Be visible

Add reflective gear and visibility increases to 90m. This gives a motorist more than enough time to drive defensively around pedestrians. A crash at 30km/h will kill 1 out of 10 adults. Children, with their smaller stature and higher vulnerability, are less likely to survive a crash at this speed.

Wheel Well is well known for our Car Seats for Kids campaign and we are delighted that our pilot project for the Halo Beanies went so well. We feel as strong about our little pedestrians as we feel about our little passengers. Now we can truly state that we focus on children in road safety!


Mars says: "We were contacted by Joggie, a phenomenal woman in her community, in November 2014 to ask for help. A young child, Mia, was hit by a vehicle on her way to school. Some parents expressed their anger by starting to dig a trench over the road where she was hit.

Halo Beanie Project
"We came up with our Halo Beanie Project with the assistance of Let’s Glow, the manufacturers. Ever since then, I have tried to get funding for this. It is a new concept in child focused road safety. The beanies with reflective tape will not only give visibility to our young children, but also keep them warm in winter. Children are much more likely to wear a beanie and keep it on as they go to school, play and run around."

Mars adds: "We approached Different.org, a crowd funding platform with a difference, for funding. Our project was approved and funds were raised in no time.

"The headmaster, Mr Cloete, gathered all the kids, teachers and support staff in the hall. We had a moment of silence in remembering little Mia and then I gave a short talk on why children are so vulnerable around moving vehicles, why Beanies and why retro reflective gear. The kids quickly grasped the concepts and the benefits of being seen.

There was huge excitement as we handed out the beanies. To watch the scene in the hall change to highly visible kiddies with their beanies on was magical!

                                                                       Image: Wheel Well


Mars says: "The children will now be seen as they walk to and from school. Being so highly visible will warn motorist from a longer distance that children are walking next to the road and they too will benefit as they will be able to act accordingly well in time. Motorists will not only be saved the agony of hitting a child, but a prosecution for culpable homicide as well.

"We want to thank Different.org for their support. This was a huge moment for us and words escape us to truly express our gratitude. Big thank yous also go out to Pick n Pay Stay Alert Stay Alive who donated road safety cd’s.

"Bakwena, as always, donated some reflective jackets to Markus, Poppie and Bokka; unemployed parents who do duty as scholar patrol. Bakwena also added water, key rings and booklets on Road Safety to their generous donation to the school. The headmaster, teachers and support staff were blown away.

"The magic of the beanies goes deeper than just visibility and safety for the children. Parents thanked us for hearing them, for doing something, for making a difference. That thanks we pass on to all our supporters with all the weight those two words can carry.

"Please contact us at Wheel Well if you too are interested in funding a Halo Beanie project for another school."

Read more on:    eugene herbert  |  eldorado park  |  kids  |  road safety

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