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Medway children taught the importance of buckling up

Around 800 Medway school children have admitted to not wearing a seatbelt on short car journeys.

That’s what pupils told Medway Council’s Road Safety Team when they toured schools in the area earlier this month as part of an annual road safety awareness campaign.

Children who said they didn’t wear a seatbelt when travelling short distances said they didn’t think it was necessary – so the team set about proving them wrong.

With their ‘seatbelt sled’ in tow, the council team visited 20 Medway schools (approximately 1,600 children) to demonstrate the real life impact and dangers of a road collision, in a controlled environment.

The students, aged 9-11-years old, were each given the opportunity to climb aboard the sled and experience what it feels like to be in a crash, highlighting the important role of their seatbelt.

By the end of each session, the children said they understood the need to wear a seatbelt – no matter the length or speed of the journey.

It’s also important for parents and carers to make sure they have the appropriate car seat for their child. UK law states children must use a child car seat until they are 12-years-old or 135 centimetres tall, whichever comes first.

Anyone over 12-years-old, or more than 135cm tall, must wear a seat belt. The recent Medway school tour is just a small part of the road safety team’s work, as they regularly meet with groups and residents of all ages to educate them on road safety, as well as promoting top tips through local and national safety campaigns.

Cllr Phil Filmer, Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services overseeing travel safety, said: “It is important to educate children about road safety from a young age. The council’s road safety team carries out work throughout the year to ensure the people of Medway stay safe on the roads.

"I would encourage parents to ensure their child is appropriately buckled up before starting their journey – if you’re involved in a crash it could help prevent injury and even save a child’s life.”