Home Schooling

When can your child go to school alone? Inspector Bertrand Caroy advises us

As of yesterday, your children and grandchildren have returned to school. Borain police inspector Bertrand Caroy spoke on RTLINFO13H about the safety of the home-school route.

From what age do you think we can give our children the ability to manage the journey from home to school by themselves?

Bertrand Caroy: You know, I will not talk directly about a specific age, but I will talk mainly about the child’s attitude. When we realize that the child can cycle correctly and safely, we can trust him.

Does it really depend on maturity from child to child?

Bertrand Caroy: You must already know how long the child has been riding the bike. A child who has been riding a bicycle for two months could not be told: Now you can go to school alone.

How do you know that your child is ready to walk or bike to school alone?

Bertrand Caroy: I think you need to go for a walk with the child and then get a little distance from the child and see how he reacts, see his driving style, see if he is having fun on the public road – that is forbidden – and most importantly, if he reacts well to other road users traffic that may pose a danger to him. When we see that the child is driving safely, we can trust him at that time and let him go alone.

This means that you first have to accompany them on the road for a long time, and if you decide to change the mode of mobility, you have to walk or bike with them for a while.

Bertrand Caroy: Just like education, I think that parents and adults should accompany the child, show him the route and explain the dangers on the way. Then they can trust him, but only once it is certain that the child can move without risk. (…) You must be able to show the child where he can walk or cycle in complete safety.

How to limit risks on the way to school? If you want to do a walking trip, for example, what are the big problem areas and how can we be sure that our child will be able to identify them?

Bertrand Caroy: In particular, it is necessary to identify places where a cyclist or pedestrian must cross the road. There you have to really explain that you have to cross in safe, well-lit places and always end in places where there are adults. A child must not be alone in a place on a public road without the accompaniment of at least one adult – even if he is not from his own family – but children must not feel alone and abandoned.

Should we teach our children road safety rules per se?

Bertrand Caroy: Yes, it is very important for the child to understand that road safety rules are part of our life. As soon as the child leaves home, he is subject to the rules of the road. It’s not a playground, it’s a public road. So at some point, adults have to educate children about the rules of the road.

At what age can this learning begin?

Bertrand Caroy: As soon as you can explain certain things to children, you must do it. You have to explain the rules of the road directly to them. It can start very soon.

Isn’t one of the keys to ensure that the timing is long enough so that the child is not stressed and does not have to ride the bike too fast?

Bertrand Caroy: I think we should get up earlier. It is necessary to prepare the child so that he can calmly go to school and that he can handle this trip without any problems. It is exactly up to the parents to make arrangements so that the child leaves on time.

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