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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:
WhatILoved · 13/09/2020 20:59

So, we’re asking you how do you teach your children about safety when out and about?

I always tell them to pay attention when crossing roads etc

Where does rail safety fit on your list of topics to teach them about?

When we are at a station I tell them about why there are lines and to stand behind them. I also tell them they can't run on the platform. I haven't educated them when away from the station.

Which books or other educational materials do you use to help you talk about safety with your DC?

None really. I mainly talk to them

Do you worry about your children’s safety when travelling without you? What are your greatest concerns when travelling with your children by train?

My children are still very young so don't travel alone yet. My main worry is that they muck around on the platform and fall onto the tracks. I do also worry that by having less independence they will not take care of their own safety do I try to teach them a sense of responsibility

vickyors · 15/09/2020 20:50

We got those books from school. We live near a railway line, so when we walk up a local hill, we cross the bridge and talk about it. We talk about how fast trains go, and how dangerous it would be to go on the tracks. They're only small, but they know how fast they go. It's just part of taking responsibility as a parent- just like anything else.

Elliebobtail · 16/09/2020 07:02

I normally teach things when they come up, and as we haven’t been on a train for a very long time it hasn’t come up. We don’t live near a train line either. It is important so this has given me the nudge to teach them, and we will download the book.

mollysmammy · 16/09/2020 12:40

I can't drive so often rely on public transport, for longer journeys and days out I use the train. My Daughter is very hyperactive and I have to watch her like a hawk. As any parent/ guardian will know we see danger everywhere when it comes to our children. When it comes to trains I do get very anxious, as much as I worry about cars and buses etc. on the road I think there are far more potential dangers with trains, the fact they cannot stop, the speed, the gaps on the platform etc. I want to teach her from an early age, as at some point in the future she will be getting the train to secondary school, for time with her friends etc.
Many many years ago I used to get the train occasionally from school to my best friends house, we would have to run for the train, and many of pupils had to ask to leave five minutes early, if the teacher said no, it was usual to miss the train. One day the whole school were unexpectedly called into the assembly hall. The headmaster looked very sombre. That evening two girls from my year had been rushing to catch the train home from school. They never made it back. In their haste to make it back for tea they had run across a level crossing. There's going to come a time that I cannot hold my Daughter's hand whilst crossing the road, can't take her to school and make sure she's safely through the doors and wait by the school gates at the end of the day. She's going to want to be independant and go to the cinema and shops with her friends, and yes it's a long way off, but instilling it in her from an early age will give her the knowledge she will need later in life.

I'm sure we've all been there where we've missed our train and the next one isn't for hours/ the last train back and had to call our parents to pick us up. Yes, mine were pretty annoyed and I was in the dog house when I got back, but a call from her to say she's missed it (it happens), is nothing really. A call from the police with the worst imaginable news I cannot even comprehend.

ailsasheldon · 16/09/2020 15:49

As my kids are older, my 14 year old has just completed a trip from Edinburgh to Great Yarmouth so we had a lot of chats about safety. Mainly about who to ask for help if she got stuck and bag safety. Also getting dehydrated as it was really warm.As it was she had to deal with a cancelled train, a detour and then a train breakdown and she was a star!

Coffeemummy123 · 16/09/2020 20:13

It's mostly green cross code, stranger danger and school's input. I encourage kids to do as i do as my parents did with me.

Arriaga · 17/09/2020 17:16

We picked up an activity pack from TfL one Easter (probably 2019!), and that was excellent in teaching little ones about rail safety - it had crosswords, puzzles, facts, word search, etc, all of which my youngest absolutely loved and we still look at it now. Really useful as we had not talked about rail safety before that and it had lots of discussion points.

ReuT3 · 17/09/2020 17:59

I don't think we can avoid fear when it comes to the reality of death from a train. When mines old enough to learn instructions I'd be happy for police to use the same video I watched in 1992.

cheekylittledevil · 19/09/2020 08:52

Like many other posters, I discussed rail safety with my kids either when we were making a journey by train or when we were waiting at a level crossing. My DS and his friends used to catch trains regularly when they were around 11 or 12 years old to go exploring. I would have certainly drummed some safety advice into him before these adventures.

NeverTwerkNaked · 19/09/2020 21:49

We have talked about this when we have caught a train but we rarely catch trains as they are so infrequent at our local station.
I definitely think it is an important topic

duggerlugs · 20/09/2020 09:19

We had a day out using train to travel and before the event I explained how it works simply and how dangerous the tracks are. I talked simply about how fast they go and that whenever we are on platforms we hold hands. She experienced the whoosh of a train not stopping so understand that the lines help keep us safe from harm.

jellybeanpopper · 20/09/2020 10:10

We haven't discussed this. DD is a bit young and we haven't had many opportunities to use the train. I downloaded the Thomas book and would use it if we were going to use the train.

foxessocks · 20/09/2020 14:56

We haven't really apart from explaining that the tracks are live and why it's important to stand well behind the yellow line when waiting. I might have mentioned the barriers etc when waiting at a level crossing. They are young still though, I am sure I will discuss it more as they get older.

fedge · 20/09/2020 17:45

I try to compare it with cars on the road,so that way I hope they will realise the immense danger and be sensible.

Scottieboi32 · 20/09/2020 18:29

As we have a few crossings locally we have a walk down and point out the various issues with messing about on these and around the train station. I feel they understand that way and will stay away or use them correctly when they need to.

Enigma222 · 20/09/2020 21:43

I haven’t spoken to my children about rail safety yet, as they are very young. I have talked about road safety when we cross the road. I guess that will be next on my list when I travel by train with the kids.

Kweenxo · 20/09/2020 22:03

Kids are not old enough yet, although we do put it into conversation when we're out and about. So if we're on the road, then about road safety. If it's via train, then about rail safety. DD is really smart for her age so she understands a little.

sjonlegs · 21/09/2020 08:51

Funnily enough we just went over a crossing the other day and my daughter asked lots of questions - especially about how reliable the gates are. More to the point I can remember when I was younger going over railway crossings where there were no gates. I'm hoping that (for the safety of others) these no longer exist!

I can still remember watching the film at middle school where a young boy and his friends are playing on the lines and his shoelace gets stuck. His leg is amputated by the train ... or maybe it kills him, but it was a real wake up call - even though we lived far from any railway! It was a shock tactic - but i remember it to this day almost 40 years later - so it must've worked!!

Hopezibah · 22/09/2020 21:58

Just as the opportunity arises so when waiting at the train station to know to stand away from the edge. When there's a level crossing we sometimes talk about the horrific accidents we've heard about where someone will think they can "quickly make it across". But other than that, we haven't specifically discussed it. I remember a rail safety talk from when I was at school - it was very powerful and emotional - I cried for days after watching the video. I wonder how much rail safety is covered in schools these days?

mondaywine · 26/09/2020 09:19

We always point out level crossings and explain why they’re there and why not to chance crossing them when the barrier is down. A few times we have stopped and let DD see the train go passed and she’s remarked on how quickly it appears from nowhere. Also pointing out live rails and explaining the reasons to stay behind the line to keep safe.

Baldwin1973 · 26/09/2020 15:42

I have tried to teach my children aged 9 and 12 about road safety from when they were tiny/I still hold their hands when we cross the road and I try to make sure they look both ways and follow the green cross code etc. My brother in law was involved in a road traffic accident many years ago so road safety is always on our minds. We have a train station in our village with a crossing so the children have known about rail safety from being small too. They know to be careful on the train lines when crossing and not to run etc. also to wait for the barrier to come down – not to rush across. I haven’t told them much about rail safety though as we seldom travel on the railways. We have trams in Manchester where we are from and I always make sure they are careful on the platform. I haven’t used books for this – I just talked to them about it. I definitely worry more now than my daughter is aged 12 and comes home from school alone or goes out with her friends. I trust her and know she is sensible but still I worry. I don’t have any concerns when traveling with my children by train – part from not being able to get a seat

EmanResu7 · 28/09/2020 02:04

This is something that I only recently thought about because we rarely take trains. I have talked to my children casually and asked them to come up with safety rules for different types of situations (road safety, stranger danger, kitchen accidents) and when I mentioned train safety all they could come up with was not to get on the tracks, so we chatted about the more specific rules. I'm not over-vigilant, but this is a game we play where we come up with different rules for different scenarios, some of them very silly, and some serious, a friend recommended this as it's a good way to raise serious issues without causing anxiety.

LucyBMumsnet · 29/09/2020 11:23

Thanks to everyone who took part in this sponsored discussion. The winner of the prize draw is @badlydrawnbear - congratulations! Smile

OP posts:
StandUnderMyUmbrella · 30/09/2020 10:29

My daughter is a teenager and i hit her with the cold, hard truth. The reality of what could happen if she goes near a railway line and stories that have happened. I think teenagers should definitely be shown videos at school like we were, they frightened me to death and i really dont think children really understand the true danger of the railway.

LucyBMumsnet · 28/10/2020 10:16

We have selected a runner up for this prize draw as we did not hear back from the prize winner in the time outlined in our T&Cs. The runner up winner of the prize draw is @DisgruntledGuineaPig - congratulations! Smile

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