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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Physical Activity for Health Group based within the School of Psychological Sciences & Health. Research here seeks to better understand how and why physical activity improves health, gain a better understanding of the amount, intensity, and type of physical activity needed for health benefits, and evaluate the effect of interventions to promote physical activity.

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The effectiveness of parents in promoting the development of road crossing skills in young children

Thomson, J. (1998) The effectiveness of parents in promoting the development of road crossing skills in young children. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 68 (4). pp. 475-491. ISSN 0007-0998

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Young children show poor judgment when asked to select a safe place to cross the road, frequently considering dangerous sites to be safe. Correspondingly, child pedestrian accidents are over-represented at such locations. Increasing the child's ability to recognise such dangers is a central challenge for road safety education. Practical training methods have proved effective in improving such judgments but are labour-intensive, time-consuming and therefore difficult to implement on a realistic scale. The study examined the possibility that volunteers from the local community might be capable of using such methods to promote children's pedestrian competence. Sixty children from the Primary 1 (Reception) classes of three Glasgow schools took part. Volunteers were ordinary parents from the same areas. None had 'formal' experience of working with children other than through being parents. Method. Volunteers received experience of training children at courses organised in each school. Children learned in small groups, receiving two sessions of roadside training followed by four on a table-top model. Pre- and post-tests allowed the effectiveness of training to be assessed. Significant improvements relative to controls were found in all children following training. Improvements proved robust and no deterioration was observed two months after the programme ended. Comparison with a previous study in which training was undertaken by highly qualified staff showed that the volunteers were as effective as 'expert' trainers. Parent volunteers can significantly increase the pedestrian competence of children as young as five years. They constitute a most valuable 'resource' in road safety education. The opportunities afforded by involving the local community in educational interventions should be further explored.