All it takes is a second or two…
Rushing will most likely get you into trouble. Trust me, I know. I can’t stand to do anything at a normal pace, in my quest to live the “perfect life”.
Most of the time, I feel like I’ll never cross off every item on my to-do list, especially now that I’m a mum.
Lightning speed comes at a price, though. You can’t cut corners forever. Let me tell you a story about how I had to learn this the hard way.
I was at my local shopping mall with my daughter, Emmeline, who is almost two years old. We were in the carpark, which was busy with drivers trying to find a spot.
I asked Emmy to stand next to me, behind the car, so that I could get a few things out of the boot. I knew this was a dumb idea, but I still did it, because I was in a rush to get my grocery shopping started.
As soon as I put Emmy down, she took one tiny step away from me.
“No,” I boomed. “Don’t move.”
She looked up at me for a second – and then she bolted away.
I felt sick as I chased her. And when I caught her, I held her tightly, promising myself this would never happen again. I was lucky that no car had swept by in that moment.
A few days later, the incident was forgotten, in a haze of work, mothering and domestic chores. I was in my apartment’s communal garage, which is crowded with cars.
I wanted to take Emmy for a short walk to the park, but I needed to get the stroller out of the boot of our car.
I set Emmy down next to me, and told her not to move. Again, I knew this was a potentially dangerous thing to do, but the only other option was to strap Emmy into her car seat while I took the stroller out, and I knew that would take too long and cause tears.
Emmy stayed still - for a few moments. But then, she was gone.
But this time, a car did come by. It was silver, and the lights were on. It was my neighbour, Nicole.
I grabbed Emmy out of the way. She had been several metres away from Nicole’s car, but the fact that my daughter was walking towards a moving car was scary enough.
In taking shortcuts, and trying to fit everything into my already busy day, I wasn’t gaining a perfect life. Potentially, I could have lost what was truly important to me.
It took two close calls to realise that I needed to be absolutely committed to my daughter’s road safety. Not sometimes, but always.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Others don’t get a second chance to get serious about road safety. Last year, of 184 people killed on WA roads, 11 of them were children under the age of 16. For example, earlier this month there was the awful case of two-year-old Tyler, who was killed after his mother accidentally ran him over after he bolted away from his grandmother and in front of her car.
And as my story shows, we can take our children’s safety for granted. Yet, it’s difficult to know how to teach them about road safety, especially if you have bad habits like mine.
RAC have created the RAC Little Legends Club to help parents educate their children about road safety. It’s a free program for children in years 1 through to 6.
It comes complete with interactive online games to play, so kids can independently learn bicycle, pedestrian and passenger safety skills, which could ultimately save their lives.
The RAC Little Legends Club also visits primary schools to deliver free in-class presentations. I’m going to suggest that the deputy principal at Emmy’s school request a visit, as this sounds like a great initiative – the more reiteration, the better.
These days, Emmy’s safety – rather than the to-do list – is my priority. It’s time for me to rush less, and care more, because precious moments can be gone forever if you’re not careful.
How do you keep your child safe near roads?
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