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Mumsnetters share how they teach their children about rail safety with Network Rail

150 replies

LucyBMumsnet · 27/08/2020 10:47

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From choosing the right time to get their full attention to finding the right way to teach them how to be safe without creating fear, talking to our children about safety can be a difficult task. As a parent, you’ll do anything to keep your child out of harm’s way, including making them aware of certain risks in the big wide world and how to be safe in those situations.

Network Rail has launched a campaign in partnership with Thomas and Friends to help parents broach the subject of rail safety with their children in a gentle way. Network Rail would love to learn how you are teaching them to be safe when out and about.

Here’s what the Network Rail has to say: ^“Our research* tells us that only half of parents with young children talk to their children about rail safety, compared to road safety where almost all parents have discussed it. We know that it can be a difficult subject to bring up with young children, which is why we have produced the Stay Safe With Thomas book as it allows parents to have that conversation in a gentle way. Parents can download a free copy by visiting”^

So, we’re asking you how do you teach your children about safety when out and about? Where does rail safety fit on your list of topics to teach them about? Which books or other educational materials do you use to help you talk about safety with your DC? Do you worry about your children’s safety when travelling without you? What are your greatest concerns when travelling with your children by train?

No matter how you encourage your children to be safe when it comes to using the railway, share on the thread below and everyone will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw.

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

*Research conducted by Mumsnet in April 2020 amongst 611 parents with at least one child aged 3 to 6.

Mumsnetters share how they teach their children about rail safety with Network Rail
OP posts:
NauticalDisaster · 02/09/2020 12:34

One of our favourite forest walks has a railway line running right next to it. Since my children love watching the trains go by we have always talked about safety, e.g. why there are fences, why we using crossings, etc. Seeing the trains regularly has just led to us discussing us train safety.

ragged · 02/09/2020 12:43

We always used trains a lot & DC1 was train mad. So they picked all the safety up just from travelling lots with us.

tbh, I know a lot of kids who never went on trains or even public buses until age 14+. I have no idea how they learn or could learn (how's that for a rubbish contribution). They literally had no clue whatsoever what to do or how things were done in taking public transport.

ChocolateChipMuffin2016 · 02/09/2020 13:43

I think the biggest way I teach my children about matters like safety is by taking them out and demonstrating it myself. let them see what I do and talk to them about why we do things and the consequences of not being safe (in an age appropriate way). I also allow them to get hurt (not badly!) occasionally, so they understand it better. To reinforce this we read lots of books which talk about themes we want to explore, I'm lucky that my children love books so this works well for them.

SleepingStandingUp · 02/09/2020 16:58

We haven't had a train specific conversation he's 5 so he's still expected to hold s hand on the platform and then when we're waiting, to stand behind the line as do we. If it's a step up one of us would help and remind him to be careful whilst being right behind him etc. He has to sit by us and would be allowed to go to the toilet etc alone yet

Cotswoldmama · 02/09/2020 20:36

I treat it the same way as crossing the road. I think once my boys are going out by themselves I will need to be more detailed in the dangers but I don't want to scare them too much whilst they're young.

Snog · 02/09/2020 21:28

My main concern for my child is about sexual harassment on trains.

flowerpower32 · 02/09/2020 21:31

Ad hoc teaching here, probably limited to stand behind yellow line, keep hold of my hand etc.

motherstongue · 03/09/2020 08:41

DS was a huge Thomas Fan and loved steam trains from a very young age. We live near a steam railway preservation so I would take him there frequently therefore we discussed very early on safety issues around crossing tracks, opening doors, standing back from the edge of the platform etc.

CloudyVanilla · 03/09/2020 14:12

This post has made me think of it for the first time to be honest. It's quite hard to teach something that they don't often come into contact with! But a book would be a great resource to broach the subject with

1969angep · 03/09/2020 15:50

As Infrequent rail users it’s not a topic we’ve focussed heavily on. Our main rule has always been to stay away from the edge of the platform.

ILovesPeanuts · 03/09/2020 21:35

The school spoke to the DC in an assembly about railway dangers, after some children were found messing around near a railway line. I knew this was planned and we had a chat after.
Other than that, we've only talked when on a platform about standing well back.
My DC don't go out on their own yet so I guess I'll address it more when they do.

Hellomoonstar · 03/09/2020 23:32

My dc love trains and busses. Their nursery gave them a booklet about dlr and it included rail safety. It had lots off nice stickers. Ds1 loves following rules, so I make sure to tell him and he follows it. Ds2 needs continual reminder off safety.

NewModelArmyMayhem18 · 04/09/2020 11:43

We have travelled with our DC a lot by train but don't think we've really directly addressed safety aspects, except regarding standing well back from the platform edge and holding their hands firmly when they were little. We once had a mishap when DP took their eye off the ball with DS (he was four at the time) on a trip back from Legoland. DS slipped between the platform and train (there was reasonably large gap). Thankfully the train was stationary and other than filling in an incident form all was well with DS.

StickChildNumberTwo · 04/09/2020 12:09

We talk about train safety when using the train (stand back from the edge, hold someone's hand if there's a big gap and so on) like we talk about road safety when using the road. I don't think I've ever talked about it out of that context though - staying off the tracks etc.

Quietvoiceplease · 04/09/2020 15:33

I suppose I largely try to teach by doing and example - which means of course that road safety is much more to the fore when we walk to school etc. Our train/tube journeys are fewer and so, therefore, are the learning opportunities. We have drilled the whole 'stand behind the line', hold on, sit down until the train stops messages, but not anything more generic about safety around rail lines etc. In their defence (and my older two DDs are teenagers) they know they musn't go anywhere near railway lines, and have never wanted or tried to either.

MuddlingThrough1724 · 04/09/2020 17:42

Before lockdown we were reasonably regular train users, and as someone who used to work in the rail industry, I think perhaps I was more mindful of teaching my child safety and consideration for other rail users too. For us, we teach in a fairly relaxed way - we explain why we do things like stand behind the yellow line, or wait for others to get off the train before getting on. It is all part of raising a thoughtful and considerate child, so we teach as we go, rather than sit down and do a "lesson" or similar.

VividImagination · 04/09/2020 19:15

I have two young adults and a 14 year old and can honestly say that discussing rail safety with them has never occurred to me. This is probably because we don’t travel by train and are not close to any railway lines. We have covered road safety and stranger danger as this seems like more of a risk where we live. I can imagine that being aware of the danger of railways is very important if you are travelling on trains or live near lines.

Catapultme · 05/09/2020 09:32

I remember the terrifying video we saw in school about the boy with the football boots.

I haven't done any railway safety with my kids yet, there aren't any railway lines near us

Mayflower400 · 05/09/2020 16:06

I’m not sure this has come up much to be honest. I frequently get the train and always have done but the main thing was always stay behind the yellow line and basically hold my hand at all times!

PickledChicory · 05/09/2020 16:47

Rail safety is something that I will teach when out and about with the kids. Trains, level crossings and railway lines are not something we encounter in our weekly routine but we might if on holiday. Ds is at an age where he is very curious/interested in trains which might be a worry.
I dont have any educational materials to help learn about this but will look at the thomas safety book as my dc love thomas..
I would obviously consider safety if travelling by train but kids behaviour/ being disruptive is a huge consideration.

AVT5 · 05/09/2020 18:34

honestly havent really talked about rail safety.. We dont use trains so not really crossed my mind, but im taking on board the comments and will be!

jacqui5366 · 05/09/2020 19:17

At a busy station, I always keep them close to me, I ask them not to go anywhere without me, I tell them about the electrified lines, the gap between the train and the platform.
We do go a lot to heritage railways (keighley and worth valley days out with Thomas)

buckley1983 · 06/09/2020 23:27

I distinctly remember covering railway safety myself at school - we were all given a copy of Roald Dahl's 'Guide to Railway Safety' illustrated by Quentin Blake & I was traumatised as one of the illustrations showed a boy's head flying out the train window as he'd poked his head out while the train was in motion :(
Even though it was very upsetting, it did stay with me & the message got through loud & clear! My son is 7 & not as squeamish as I was, I'm going to see if I still have it as he is great Roald Dahl fan & railway safety isn't something we have discussed in detail as he has never been on a train. We've talked about road safety a LOT, but don't live near a train station so it hasn't really come up. He was a huge Thomas the Tank Engine fan so I'd be interested to see what messages he has picked up from that!

HexyAndIKnowIt · 07/09/2020 10:33

My son was fascinated by trains when he was a child. We'd spend hours sat on the local station watching trains come and go, signals rise and fall and points move.
We'd sit and talk about how things worked and how it was also dangerous. Sometimes we'd visit the mainline station where the trains hurtled through without stopping. Seeing that alone was enough for him.

NerrSnerr · 07/09/2020 21:19

We always talk about not standing close to the edge on the platform and being very careful getting on and off. I saw a small boy fall into the gap between train and platform edge, luckily he mum caught him but it was terrifying.

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