first graders: going to school
Parents taxi is so dangerous
The road to school is dangerous, especially for inexperienced first graders. As a result, many parents send their children to school by car, making the situation worse.
Now school is starting again. This has already started in some cantons, and others will follow in the next three weeks. Many children are now having their first independent experience in road traffic on the way to school. Not without danger, especially for first graders who, in addition to learning the ABCs and multiplication tables, still have to learn how to correctly assess and avoid road hazards.
That’s why many parents want to play it safe. Rather than practice going to school with their children in advance, they prefer to take children to school in so-called parent taxis – even if it is only a few hundred meters away. Statistics prove them right: About 40 percent of all serious accidents involving children occur while attending school. Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) figures show about two accidents on the way to school per school in 2021. Last year there were 532 accidents, out of which 452 people were injured.
more dangers in school
According to a 2019 TCS study, 30 percent of school children in western Switzerland are regularly attended by their parents; Less than seven percent in German-speaking Switzerland. After all, it’s practical, too: Anyone who drives to work by car makes a short detour to school and drops off a child anyway. Several risks arise from parent-only taxis on the way to school:
- Departure emphasis: Pack your school bag, tie up your shoelaces – the kids need their time before they start. If mommy or daddy is still stressing because they should also be at work on time, then the day starts with stress.
- Uncentered on the wheel: If you add time pressure, work day considerations, and a lot of traffic, the risk of an accident increases.
- Block stops: Is there no parking in the school? So wait for a while at the bus stop and drop the child. There is tension when the school bus comes from behind.
- Stopping in a no-stopping zone: Where there is still space, you can even park for a short time – whether in front of an exit or in the middle of a sidewalk.
- Parking in the second row: If there is no other option, you just stay on the road to leave the offspring. Other children now have difficulty crossing the street because their field of vision is blocked. It is also difficult for children to recognize other drivers. And they jam behind the stopped car.
- Hold the wrong side: To avoid a detour, some leave their children on the opposite side of the road – children head off to the side of the road, cannot check traffic before crossing calmly, or run unnoticed to the other side of the road Huh.
- Wild Vendemover: The kids left – but now hurry to work. So we turn in front of the school as soon as possible. After all, kids can be out and about – often regardless of the car’s surroundings.
Build your experiences in traffic
Parents as taxi drivers not only put school children in danger due to stress, lack of concentration and increasing traffic in front of schools. According to TCS, they also deny children the opportunity to learn how to behave properly in traffic on a daily basis. And thus being safe and free on the road. Also: According to a Swedish study, driving to school doesn’t make kids indifferent—and motivated—to get to school while kids are active.
Municipalities have long initiated or – such as in Aargau – banned parental taxis altogether to reduce the number of potential hazards on the way to school. The TCS or Swiss Traffic Club (VCS) also points to the risk of vehicular congestion in front of schools.
This is how your kids can go to school safely without their parents’ taxi:
- Work together with them to decide the route to school and explain to them why this route is the safest. Schools often have detailed school route maps with the safest routes from residential areas in the catchment area.
- Practice your way to school with your kids in advance.
- Be with them only for as long as necessary – it is only when children really become independent in traffic.
- Even though there is always a residual risk in road traffic – trust that your kids will master it with good preparation.
- Team up with other parents to create a so-called pedibus: Many children attend school as a group, initially accompanied by an adult. Many eyes see more and a group sees better.
But in the country and without a school bus, sometimes there is no other option: If you drive your kids to school by car, stop at a safe place near the school and let them walk the rest of the way. This reduces the risk of traffic in front of the school and gives them an opportunity to create their own experiences in traffic.