PW 1616 Training children in road crossing skills using a simulated road environment

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Abstract

Background

Children pay little attention to safety signals when crossing the road with their caregivers and are given little opportunity to learn through supervised participation. Even though caregivers are seen as the key model of safe pedestrian behaviours, they do not involve their children in safe pedestrian decisions as they tend to traffic. Road safety education is recognized as central to teach children to interact with traffic safely.

Objective

The study evaluated the use of a simulated road environment to reinforce skill-based training for increasing safe pedestrian behaviours.

Methods

One hundred and fifty children aged 8–10 years participated and were recruited from a public primary school in Cape Town. Pre- and post-training tests evaluated the effectiveness of the training. Road traffic inspectors’ role modelled the pedestrian safety behaviours alongside the learners using a mobile pedestrian robot in the school road environment. Participants were educated on the management of the pedestrian robot and its related rules on crossing the intersection.

Findings

Children behaved more safely following training, demonstrating that brief training can produce short-term improvements in pedestrian behaviours. Significant reductions were found post-training for incorrect road-crossing responses (45%).

Conclusion

Results indicate that learners were receptive to the short and medium-term tasks, but long-term retention need to be promoted. Adult led learning are considered as powerful instruments due to the influence of social interaction on modelled behaviours. Caregiver involvement continues to be seen as influential agents in the practical application of a simple training procedure for pedestrian interventions.

Policy implications

A simulated road environment proved beneficial to transfer knowledge to promote children’s behaviour in the real environment; and bridging research into practice. An innovative approach to research and development is advocated for, and it must be transformed by practitioners to further promote the quality and utility of the disseminated road safety information.

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