Some of my earliest memories of adventures include train trips to Scotland with my Grandparents. As a child getting to travel by train brought so much joy and excitement.
We are very lucky to have such a wonderful train system in the UK and it’s a mode of transport that I use myself regularly. My daughters have enjoyed their adventures that were thanks to a quick train ride into London. I’m not sure what makes trains so exciting to children but it ignites delight every time we tell them of a new railway adventure.
I like to think that I’m quite open to talking about railway safety with my daughters. It shocked me to find out that when Mumsnet took a survey, only half of the parents questioned to talk to their child about rail safety, compared to road safety. With 3 out of 10 parents have never discussed rail safety at all.
It was instilled into me from such a young age that the tracks are dangerous. I think my parents took a bit of a brutal approach and left me feeling pretty terrified to cross that yellow line on the platform which probably had good and bad qualities. At least I was safe.
Network Rail has teamed up with everyone’s favourite train, Thomas and Friends, to offer a gentler approach to teaching railway safety to children from a young age. It is never too early to begin that conversation.
I sat Elsa down, who is five years old, and took a look at the eBook that has been created with younger children in mind. It’s sometimes quite hard to get Elsa engaged with learning, especially at the moment but one thing that never fails is a bit of storytime.
The Stay Safe with Thomas eBook is free to download. The book follows Thomas and Friends on an adventure around the railway tracks, stations, and level crossings. Of course, he learns that staying safe is the most important thing.
Elsa spoke about the things she already knew, like not crossing over the yellow line and making sure she stayed with a grown-up. I used this to build on the topic and we talked about level crossings and knowing that she must never go onto the tracks.
It’s no secret here that we love to spend time reading. It helps to stretch their imaginations and expands their understanding of the world. By reading the Thomas eBook, it enables children to pair a well-loved friendly character to real-life situations. Teaching the importance of being aware of rail safety.
Road and rail safety should be considered equally important, even if you do not live near a railway. I know that by starting the discussions and learning about rail safety early on in my daughters’ lives, that I am giving them the tools to be able to keep themselves and their friends safe when travelling by train or alongside a railway.
Disclosure: This is an AD with Network Rail and Mumsnet post.