Teaching Kids the Rail Safety Basics

Parenting isn’t always easy. There are so many things to teach kids—from how to share, to how to brush their teeth, to saying please and thank you. But there are also plenty of things that children need to learn about safety, including staying clear of railway tracks and trains.

“Children look to the adults in their lives to show them how to stay safe,” says Sarah Mayes, Operation Lifesaver’s (OL’s) National Director. “Whether it’s reminding children to look both ways before crossing the street, or not to walk, ride or play near tracks and trains, parents can instill lifelong safety habits in their kids that can help to keep them out of harm’s way.”
Unlike adults, children can’t always focus on one thing at a time and they aren't as good at sensing or predicting danger. That’s why it’s critical to teach children only to cross tracks at approved public crossings; to take the safest path to school and never use tracks as a shortcut; and not to walk or play on tracks or railway property.
Spreading the rail safety message to parents and children
This weekend, Operation Lifesaver will be sharing these and other safety tips with parents and kids in Ottawa. For the first time, OL Rail Safety Ambassadors will be on hand at the Ottawa Parent & Child Expo to spread the rail safety message.
Gino Paolino has worked for OC Transpo in the Special Constable Unit, as a Fare Inspector for almost 20 years. He’ll be one of the OL volunteers at this weekend’s event. He says having a booth at the Expo is an opportunity to educate people, especially children, about the hazards around trains, tracks and railway properties.
“When you can get that many parents and kids in the same place, it’s awesome,” says Paolino. “It’s a chance to teach safe behaviour and practices in regards to railways and trains. But it isn’t just about making sure they don’t get hit by a train. It is also about teaching children not to get lost on a train or in a train station, to always hold mom and dad’s hand, and not to play on tracks or to throw objects at trains or on tracks.”
Offering online resources to teach kids rail safety basics
But if you can’t make it to the Parent & Child Expo in Ottawa this weekend, don’t worry. OL also has lots of resources on its website to help teach kids the rail safety basics, such as: colouring and activity sheets.
Remember, rail safety is a shared responsibility. Whether you are a parent, teacher, caregiver or family member, taking the time to teach children how to stay safe around tracks and trains is worth it—it could save their lives.