How to teach children the ‘TrackSAFE Actions’
At school your child is learning about how to stay safe near trains and tracks through the TrackSAFE Education: Rail Safety for Schools program. (If not, please ask your child’s teacher to download and teach one of our units of work!)
You can help reinforce what they learn in the classroom by practising waiting safely on a station platform or cross at a pedestrian level crossing with them every time you catch a train or cross railway lines. We call these the ‘TrackSAFE actions’.
Often children know how to behave safely on platforms or around pedestrian level crossing; however this does not always translate in their actions, especially when there are other distractions.
Young children need continuous reinforcement to help them stay safe around trains and tracks. It’s as important as teaching your child to swim – no matter where they live or how often they see trains and tracks, they need to practise regularly so they can stay safe when they need to.
Each time you visit a platform and train tracks with your child, please reinforce the TrackSAFE actions. You could ask them to tell you and show you what they know already, and fill in any gaps using the information below.
It could save your child’s life.
Refresh your knowledge: platform safety with kids
- When on a station platform, always hold your child’s hand or get them to hold a safe alternative such as part of your clothing, an older sibling’s hand or stroller.
- Talk about the yellow line and why we must stay behind it. When the train arrives wait for the train to come to a complete stop before crossing over the yellow line.
- Talk about the different safety features, such as signs and lines; why these safety features are there; and how they keep us safe.
Refresh your knowledge: pedestrian level crossing safety with kids
- Hold your child’s hand when approaching and waiting. If you are pushing a stroller, you could ask your child to hold the stroller.
- Talk about the crossing procedure STOP LOOK LISTEN THINK.
STOP behind the line.
LOOK both ways for trains.
LISTEN for trains coming.
THINK, “Is it safe to cross?”
Why is it important to do this every time they cross? It will help keep them safe!
- Wait until the bells and lights have stopped and the pedestrian gate opens (if there is one) and repeat STOP LOOK LISTEN THINK.
- When crossing, point out the double lines and always walk between them.
- Wait away from a pedestrian level crossing and discuss with your child what they can see. Reinforce safe vocabulary and talk about how we know where the safe place to cross is.
- If a train passes through, talk about how big the train is, how it goes really fast, and how hard it is for the driver to stop it.
- Remind them to hop off their bike or scooter and walk across the tracks: the wheels could get stuck.
Refresh your knowledge: Track safety with kids
- Reinforce that trains can come from any time and from either direction. Remind them to walk to a more suitable place to cross e.g. a pedestrian level crossing.
- Talk to your child about the dangers of unfenced train tracks, and what to do if there is no pedestrian level crossing.
- For remote tracks with no crossings, strongly reinforce STOP LOOK LISTEN THINK.
- Discuss with your child how important it is to remove headphones when you are near train tracks. Encourage them to listen for the noises associated with approaching trains, such as bells, warning sounds, and the moving train.