A new school year: The perfect time to teach kids the rail safety basics

September is here and that means children from coast to coast are heading back to school. But a new year doesn’t just mean kids should be learning about math, science, history or spelling. It’s also the perfect time to teach them about rail safety.

With this in mind, Operation Lifesaver and Parachute—a national organization dedicated to injury prevention—are asking parents and teachers to ensure that the children in their lives know how to stay safe around train tracks and railway property.

“Parachute wants all Canadians to learn how to prevent injuries, and that includes knowing the hazards from train tracks, train traffic and rail yards,” says Steve Podborski, Parachute’s President and CEO. “The new school year presents a great opportunity to review road and travel safety with your child and that truly includes rail safety.”

Children often don’t realize how fast and quiet trains can be. It’s important that they understand this so they don’t make the mistake of walking along railway tracks, or using tracks as a shortcut home.

“A new school year often means a new school, and if it’s in an area close to railway tracks, kids need to know how to stay safe. Ensuring kids understand railway warning signs and signals, and just how dangerous trespassing on railway property and tracks can be, could save their lives,” explains Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver.

So, before the kids in your life hit the books this fall, make sure they review these rail safety tips—it could be the most important thing they learn this school year:

  • Obey all railway signs and signals.
  • Stay off your phone when around tracks.
  • Cross tracks only at designated railway crossings.
  • Keep one ear out when wearing headphones so you can hear trains coming.
  • Always stop, listen and look in both directions before crossing railway tracks.
  • If you are riding a bicycle, stop, look and listen at railway crossings. Then walk your bicycle across the tracks when it’s safe.
  • Never play on or near railway tracks or trains.
  • Never throw things at trains or place things on railway tracks.

Check out our website for other resources to help keep kids rail safe this school year.