10 Safety Tips When It Gets Dark Early

Tips for keeping your little ones safe this autumn.

Autumn has arrived and with it are longer and darker evenings. Soon it will be dark when school finishes and, while this is nothing to worry about, there are safety measures that all parents and childminders should follow.

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Here are 10 tips to keep your kids safe during the dark evenings:

  • Walking home

1. Stay on the phone

Staying on the phone to a parent, friend or sibling is a good way for a child to stay safe when they are walking home from school or after-school activities. This way someone will know where they are at all times. If your child is aware of someone approaching they can say “I’m at,” name the location, “and will be home in two minutes.” 

2. Walk in groups

Walking in groups of two or more is a great way to stay safe. Talk to other parents and neighbours to find out who your child can walk home with. This way, if a child falls and grazes its knee, for example, they will have friends to help them home.

3. Know the area

Your son or daughter should only walk well-trodden routes that are firmly ingrained in their minds. It is a route they should have walked many times with parents or childminders before setting out on their own. Their route should only go through well-lit areas, where possible. Ideally, it will be a busy route with lots of people around. Of course, this is not possible in all suburban areas, so make sure your child knows to stick to the path you have decided together.

4. No headphones

Instruct your child not to wear headphones on their walk home. With their hearing unencumbered they will better hear approaching traffic, bicycles and pedestrians. Their road safety awareness will also be better if they are not distracted by music or podcasts.

5. Reflective gear

Invest in illuminating/reflective wearables for your child. Wrist bands, ankle bands and strips on their schoolbags are effective ways of ensuring your child is visible in the dark.

6. Have an emergency plan

Make sure your children know what to do in an emergency. Save the emergency response numbers in their phone and tell them who to call if they witness an accident or find themselves in a dangerous situation.

  • Driving in the dark

7. Adults driving

As a parent and/or childminder you must pay special attention driving at night. Not all kids will be wearing reflective gear and have their headphones out, so it is vital watch the roads with diligence.

8. Behaviour while driving 

As it can be more difficult to spot hazards in the dark, kids must be well behaved when they are in cars at night. Everyone should be buckled with their seatbelt and, where necessary, children should remain in their car seat. All children should know how to behave appropriately and not distract the driver.

9. Pedestrian rules

Reinforce the rules that your children already know: wait for the green light at pedestrian crossings, look both ways before crossing, wait until it is safe. Emphasise the importance of waiting when approaching driveways and crossings.

  • Explaining the darkness

10. Why it is dark earlier

For young children the early arrival of night can be a cause of worry itself. Use a globe or map of the solar system to explain that the night is longer because you are farther away from the sun right now. Instead of being something to worry about, this can be a fun way to teach kids about the way the earth and sun rotate.


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