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Road safety for toddlers

(23 Posts)
Mamabear12 Wed 19-Nov-14 19:37:18

Today I got the scare of my life, when my daughter and her friend all of a sudden started running down the sidewalk, RIGHT next to a BUSY road. They are both two, mine is 3 in a few months. Anyway they kept running and me and the other mom were shouting and running after them. They were at times close to the edge and would not listen and stop. Finally we managed to get them to stop and cross over to where it is safer to walk. OMG I can not stop thinking about it. I also have a baby in the stroller when walking with my daughter...and her school is right on a busy its not always the easiest to control her when leaving out of the gate.

Please, do you have any tips on explaining road safety to someone so young and what I can do to control her more? She does not always listen to me. After today, I explained to her many times how dangerous it is to run by the busy road and when I say stop she needs to listen and stop. Needs to hold my hand etc. I am not sure if she fully understood. I really hope so. I know how dangerous it is and I feel so bad just thinking about it.

All the worries of being a parent...its so stressful.... sad and I know it never ends!!! ARGH

MrsKCastle Wed 19-Nov-14 19:41:54

At 2, you can not rely on her understanding- you need to have her under control at all times near a road, so holding hands/reins/strapped in a pushchair.

Obviously that doesn't mean you can't teach her, but there's no point really in going beyond 'Roads are dangerous, you must always hold an adult's hand'.

MrsKCastle Wed 19-Nov-14 19:46:46

Ah sorry, just seen that your DD is nearly 3. I still think she should always hold your hand, or you could teach her to hold the pushchair and walk along beside you. You can also teach her to stop whenever you say stop- when you're out in the park at first, then on a very quiet road, but only let her go a tiny way ahead before you say 'stop'. If she doesn't stop on demand, she immediately has to go right back to holding the pushchair.

sh77 Wed 19-Nov-14 19:48:31

I totally agree - 2 is too young to have any sense of danger near a road. My ds is 3.7 and only recently has he began to stop. I find it awfully stressful. Even with the best will in the world, minor lapses on our part can be fatal.

MrsPresley Wed 19-Nov-14 19:48:40


I can't stress enough how important they are.

This is a post I wrote back in May 13, please read it.

I'm the poster mentioned a couple of times up there^^

My DS was hit by a car and died because his dad didn't put his reins on him (or his twin sister), he was in a hurry and thought for a short journey it wouldn't matter.

Well we all found out, in the worst way possible that it does matter, it only takes a minute to put them on, and it took less than a minute for my DS to end up under a car, while ExDH was distracted by DD.

Please please always use reins, no matter how short your journey, if you are near a road then put them on.

Believe me when I say you really don't want the life I have had for the past 28 years, I wouldn't wish that on anyone!

Even though I had another 3 children, there is a huge emptiness that will never be filled.

And thank you to the posters who have remembered me, hopefully on the next "reins" thread there will be some more parents who will remember me and please keep telling people how important reins can be

Oh and if anyone says it's like putting them on a lead like a dog, well, would you let your dog run about the streets without a lead

WhyOWhyWouldYou Wed 19-Nov-14 20:10:43

IMO toddlers should always hold an adults hand by a road and have reins, or for older toddlers a reins backpack, on.

My DS is brilliant at holding hands, we drilled it into him by always giving the choice of "hold hands or you'll have to go in the pushchair (or be carried if we didn't have pushchair with us) because its not safe". However I also have a little life backpack, (which is very cute) as a backup and thank goodness I do. A few weeks back I was unlocking the car when he suddenly pulled free and tried to run in front of a car - he's 2y8m, and has never ever tried that before. Scared the living daylights out of me. The backpack meant I'd still got hold of him, so he was safe.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 19-Nov-14 20:15:11

Mrs Presley,I always mention you on threads like this, but see you've already replied.



ZebraZeebra Wed 19-Nov-14 20:17:28

Going through this at the moment with just-turned-two DS. Also find it hugely stressful, and I guess it's meant to be. After the very first time of having a similar shock I now have complete zero tolerance for it - I completely understand he doesn't understand so that's why it's pretty much the only thing I've got super strict on - because you have to.

So he has one chance to hold my hand/walk in reigns and if he resists then he is strapped into the buggy. I feel so horrible doing it because it's nothing like my approach to parenting on any other thing but it's too important. There's no room for letting him figure it out himself. Until he understands clearly "the why", this is how it goes.

I find it hugely stressful when walking alongside other parents with their buggies and everyone's chatting...veering my own buggy out the way to grab him if he wrestles out of my hand or whatever...I'm heavily pregnant too so don't feel nimble to dash and grab him.

I hate it - I do not enjoy this at all. Sometimes he holds my hand really well, sometimes he wrestles himself out of my hand to walk by himself, sometimes he lets go in order to go round to the front of the buggy to sit in it - but I've mistaken that several times for general resistance and it's caused lots of tears.

MrsPresley Thu 20-Nov-14 06:41:59

Dame. I'm so glad another parent has remembered me, thank you flowers

meglet Thu 20-Nov-14 07:16:16

mrspresley I always remember you when this subject pops up.

mamabear TBH you can't really teach them at that age, you can talk about it until you are blue in the face but a toddler and even a pre-schooler, isn't really safe next to a road.

Double buggies, reins and holding hands are the way forward.

kiki0202 Thu 20-Nov-14 09:50:48

I don't agree with constantly needing reins at all DS has not needed reins since he was about 18 months. I personally think it's better to teach them to be safe than to restrain them all the time.

I taught DS not to run away by lots of walks in a safe place if he ran away he would go back in buggy or on reins for 5 minutes then back off. If we are close to a main road we needs to walk next to me at nearly 3 he doesn't need to hold my hand at all unless crossing roads. When we are somewhere quiet he runs ahead but stops dead when I shout stop again because we practiced it lots if he doesn't stop he has to go in buggy or hold my hand. He know the consequence's or not following the rules are having his freedom taken away so had quickly learned not to do it.

2 year olds are smarted than people seem to think they can understand rules and consequence's and mine understands that cars can hurt him so he's not to go near them.

Karasea Thu 20-Nov-14 10:25:06

Kiki whilst your toddler may well be both smart and compliant allowing any toddler to run up to traffic believing they will stop everytime is an overestimation of their skill set.

The brightest toddler and the most effective parent are always going to be trumped by distraction and poor impulse control.

Babiecakes11 Thu 20-Nov-14 10:35:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiaowTheCat Thu 20-Nov-14 18:15:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Iggly Thu 20-Nov-14 21:11:29

I use a pushchair for my youngest who is nearly 3. When my youngest was a similar age and I had a baby, he walked but always next to me and always away from the road. If he ran a few steps ahead, I grabbed him. I'm quite militant on the road safety thing. Even now ds is 5, he is not allowed to go ahead or near the road. Not with the ridiculous traffic we have.

Mamabear12 Thu 20-Nov-14 22:57:30

Thanks for all your responses. I am going to buy reins, for when she doesn't want to be in stroller. In addition, I will keep trying to teach her about road safety.

Mrs Priestly, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. No parent should ever have to go through this sad I still feel bad and stressed and worried when thinking of my daughter running ahead of me.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Thu 20-Nov-14 23:11:12

Kiki, clearly you don't have a bolter.

TheABC Thu 20-Nov-14 23:28:19

After seeking MN advice, DS can choose between his backpack with reins or the pushchair. That's the only compromise I am willing to make. (It helps that he really likes the backpack).

olivesnutsandcheese Thu 20-Nov-14 23:50:39

My DS (2.3) is such a bolter that he doesn't leave the house without his backpack(reins) on. I put them on even if we're going to the car. He is such a monkey getting out of the car and so quick that he would be out of reach in seconds.

I can't tell you how many times reins have saved his life and my sanity.

always use reins (repeat ad infinitum)

BackforGood Thu 20-Nov-14 23:57:55


kiki - this totally depends on the child - I've had 2 that needed reins, and 1 that didn't.
It's a bit like parents who are lucky enough to have a good sleeper saying it's all down to their parenting.
Or parents with good eaters insisting it's all down to their parenting.

It really isn't you know wink

Yes, it contributes, but there's a whole heap of "what you are given" within all children.

WhyOWhyWouldYou Fri 21-Nov-14 00:15:36

Kiki it doesn't matter if you have a bolter or not - it only takes once. I think all toddlers should be taught to be safe and have reins. DS actually didn't ever seem to realise his back pack had a rein on it until he did, very uncharacteristically, try to bolt.

HerrenaHarridan Fri 21-Nov-14 00:49:34

Op don't under estimate your 2yo s/he almost certainly has some concept of danger but this is not to be relied upon.

I recommend playing the stop go game. Walking in a park or safe place tell each other to stop and then go. A lot. Get them used to stopping when you stay stop.

I have a special stop voice that I only use when I need her to stop immediately. Deep bass, raised but not shouting STOP! no other words or explanation at that point. Dd freezes when she hears it and it has saved her life.

I rarely use reins ( well backpacks ) as dd is an only child and not a bolter. If there are several small children then reins are an absolute must.
I like the back packs better than reins and we've never had a battle about wearing it. It's very easy to unclip the rein part when not needed or to clip it on.

I'm sorry for your loss mrs Presley

Also agree with pps re you get 1 chance to walk nicely then it's the buggy/carrier.

kiki0202 Fri 21-Nov-14 09:19:02

I'm not saying DS magically knew road safety and never moved from my side we spent lots and lots of time practicing and used reins until he was an expert on it. It takes time and patience and is harder than just using reins but it will work if you persevere and be consistent with it. Shouting stop is not to stop him running into traffic he will be next to me for traffic it's for running to far in the park/cycling to far. DS goes to nursery when he's 3 at the start of the year I want to know i've taught him to be safe when not with me.

It's funny other threads suggest bikes and scooters for 3ish year olds to speed up there walking but this one is suggesting reins so clearly it's not a balanced thread.

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