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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:
emphasisofmatter · 07/09/2020 21:22

I've only taken my children on a train a couple of times, and we don't live near any crossings. So we haven't talked about the dangers of railway crossings. We did talk about what to expect at the station and about standing back behind the line and the big step up to the train door, before leaving for the station. We then talked it all through again on the platform also.

lovemyflipflops · 08/09/2020 10:14

I have asked them to stay close, not run around, and be sensible, and when older to avoid level crossings when the barriers are down, not to ever ever ever go on the tracks - even if your friends do, or you have dropped something. When on the train to stay close to their seat, and when going to the toilet - always lock the door behind - and if someone knocks - do not under any circumstance let them in.

pushchairprincess · 08/09/2020 10:31

We are avid Thomas & Friends fans - and we do discuss the dangers of trains - tracks -strangers - going to the toilet - and level crossings.

Pillowaddict · 08/09/2020 13:48

A lot of my teaching uses the environment and context of what is already there - which is why clear and easy to follow safety signs are so useful, to be able to read out, refer to and reinforce with young children.

lillypopdaisyduke · 08/09/2020 14:11

Other than attending a Thomas day at our local heritage steam railway, my children have only travelled by train once, which is a shame really, I must change that..... it's nice to me to look at the scenery of a trip to the seaside etc - I would defiantly tell them about keeping away from the edge, when older do not give in to peer pressure and trespass on the line/railway system.
I will definitely show the safety video to my DS.

danigrace · 08/09/2020 19:53

This isn't something I've discussed yet with my little one but now I've seen this I will be downloading the book, thank you!
All we've said up to now re. travel safety is to stay close and hold hand

Bourbonbiccy · 08/09/2020 20:24

He knows you don't stand too close the edge, hold hands and obviously never go on a track.

My mum should have taught us to ensure you have a correct fitting mask when on site, and when ballast drops are conducted Network rail,actually don't care about the health of the rail staff and do the bare minimum to keep them safe, they do letter drops to local houses but don't do enough for the staff to be truly safe.

bustybetty · 09/09/2020 08:48

My now 20 year olds sons first words (other than mum and dad) was dangerous! We obviously talked about danger a lot, my boys were hard work when it came to seeing danger but my girls were very good and listened. At railway stations it was no messing about on the platform and no going near the yellow line. Now they are older its making sure during the driving lessons that they drive carefully over crossings and don't rush the lights. I'm guessing it won't be long until they are teaching their own children the same things.

Sleepybumble · 09/09/2020 09:53

We always hold hands at the train station and talk about the reason. Luckily DD is pretty sensible.

LillianGish · 10/09/2020 08:28

My uncle used to be a train driver and rail safety is something I drilled very heavily with my kids - we were taking trains (and tubes) frequently from the time they were born and my DS in particular was a bit of a train nut and huge Thomas fan. I talked about the importance of standing back from the platform edge and never ever going on the track for any reason stressing how fast trains travel and how long they take to stop and that train drivers are not expecting people to be on the track (unlike say car drivers who are aware that very often pedestrians are walking alongside the road and are legitimately entitled to cross). Also taking care getting on and off - allowing plenty of time and “minding the gap” (cliché that it has become!) I remember getting off a train with my mum when the DC’s were tiny and her dropping a package she was carrying onto the track as she got off. We had to find the station master who arrived with his long pincers to retrieve it - all the while stressing that you should never try and retrieve anything yourself even it looks within easy reach. My DCs are late teens now, but I still can’t help the occasional “Stand well back” even though they roll their eyes in an “Oh Mum, we know!” kind of way. I do think it’s something you need to reiterate (as you would with road safety) rather than a one-off lesson, something that was brought home all too tragically to all our family when a close friend’s teenage son was hit by a train after wandering onto the track. Just don’t go there - even if there is no fence and no warning sign. Railways are no go areas unless you are catching a train.

CatBatCat · 10/09/2020 10:06

For younger children I would be teaching them about what to expect on the platform and pointing out the yellow line. For older children I would teach them how to understand the routes and where to change which destinations to read for their stop.

EsmeeMerlin · 10/09/2020 11:33

From a young age we have always told our two boys about staying away from the edge and the danger of train tracks, much like how we remind them of road safety. When I was younger, we always watched videos on track safety because their was a train crossing in our village.

RomaineCalm · 10/09/2020 14:41

I'm not sure we ever specifically covered rail safety. We did spend a lot of time at the station watching the trains though so must have talked about it then.

Nicetableinnit · 10/09/2020 16:33

The gap, the bloody gap! It was always my main concern travelling with the kids esp. when they were little. We'd change at Clapham Junction where the gap was so big sometimes I'd have to jump off the train and over it...

Anj123 · 10/09/2020 18:46

I must admit I haven’t specifically talked to my child about rail safety and now she’s a teenager! She hasn’t been on train without an adult so I would expect her to do as she’s told like she would in any situation. From an early age I made sure she knew our telephone no. and address in case she got lost, and to ask a member of staff for help if necessary.

Toombumber · 10/09/2020 19:19

I only talked about train safety in terms of being on the platform and standing well back from passing or arriving trains, or occasionally how to use a level crossing properly but these situations didn't come up that often.
When in the London Underground, we talked about live rails and getting separated when it was crowded- who to go to and where to get off etc.

WowOoo · 11/09/2020 06:29

We had a chat recently - but it was more about etiquette and letting people get off first and how to queue!

When we stayed with friends near a crossing years ago we talked about safety. The train was a very fast one and I think they got the message after it had zoomed past. A bit scary!

chris8888 · 11/09/2020 11:47

We dont use the train a lot but if we are going on a day out or into London using the underground we talk about safety. Stay behind the yellow line, dont mess about, stay by me etc. We dont live near a level crossing now but did in the past, it was scary seeing teenagers dogging the barriers. I think they are really dangerous places.

rmahoney1 · 11/09/2020 12:26

Falling down the gap!!!!!hold hands and make jumping over the gap a game to avoid the crocodiles

ethelredonagoodday · 12/09/2020 00:00

We have a half level crossing in our village, very close to a secondary school. Troubles abound. Some issues cannot be solved through education.

MrsFrTedCrilly · 12/09/2020 01:30

I tend to talk rail safety with my child on the day we use the train. They know not to wander off, stand too close to the platform, stay with me and not mess around.
I think it’s easier to talk about something when you are doing it iyswim.

DisgruntledGuineaPig · 12/09/2020 09:25

I dont think I've particularly had a conversation about it, other than at the train station the importance of staying behind the yellow line, holding a hand as you get on/off. Its not been a safety talk, more a general "this is how you use public transport", like how to put tickets in the barriers, the importance of standing to the side to let people off before trying to get in the train/tube. Etc.

They know to stay away from train lines.

FredAstaireAteMyHamSandwich · 12/09/2020 17:01

I always hold a child’s hand whilst about a rail station, and if they won’t hold hands, I would have no hesitation in using reins. Once they are school ageI would impress how important it is to stand away from the platform edge while on the station and explain they must ALWAYS look for the lights at level crossings.

1wella · 12/09/2020 18:21

I always tell my children to be very careful when getting on and off trains and to always hold my hand. They are a little afraid of the gaps and the doors but, always love a train ride.

jcyclops · 13/09/2020 20:30

The main safety instructions used to be not to open doors whilst the train was in motion (and to stand back at stations because other idiots may do so) and of course, do not lean out of the window. These are largely redundant as there are now no trains where you can open the door in motion and only about 1% (soon to be none) with windows where you could lean out.
The main concentration now is on the dangers of overhead and third rail electrification and all types of crossings, especially foot crossings where the stop, look, listen is very important with particular emphasis on the possibility of a second train coming. Particular emphasis should be on the danger on crossing behind a train that has just arrived at a station - especially on "barrow" crossings.

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