This week in the elementary school, we have been learning about many safety topics. Kindergarten enjoyed the police visit to practice walking across the street, story time with the Japanese teachers about traffic safety and what to do if you are lost. Grade 1 learned about personal safety; Grade 2, fire and earthquake safety; Grade 3, bicycle safety; Grade 4, internet safety; and Grade 5, cyber-safety, with first aid to follow next week.
To give you some additional information about keeping your children safe and healthy in Tokyo, I thought that I would give you some additional resources.
You may want to give your children a family password (or code word), that would be used by another person if the message came from the parents. Here are some more hints about keeping kids safe.
This article has a mention of Pipo-kun who is drawn on signs that mark safe houses and places for children.
Traffic and Car Safety
There are not so many written laws about seatbelts, car seats, and airbag safety in Japan. By law on a highway, seatbelts are to be used in both the front and back seats, but on the regular roads, the police only enforce using seatbelts in the front seat. A car seat is only required for ages six and under, and there are no regulations about airbags. However when traveling in a car, even though there is not a written law, you may want to consider the following safety information. In general, experts recommend that children sit in the back seat, and be restrained in an appropriate manner. Kids Health web site suggests the following. “Kids can start wearing a regular seatbelt when they can easily rest their back against the seat of the car and bend their knees over the edge of the seat. Usually, this happens when kids are between 8 and 12 years old and around 4 feet 9 inches (about 150 centimeters) tall.”
Since there are airbags in the front seat, consider not having your child sit there. Airbags can be released with explosive force and could injure a child. Here is a site with detailed information.
The policeman emphasized the danger that bicyclists can encounter at intersections. They suggested to the students that they stop before crossing at an intersection and ensure that there are no cars turning before they cross the road. If your child does not yet ride a bicycle, be aware that there are special traffic parks where children can borrow bicycles for free and learn the basics. Riding a bicycle is an enjoyable life long skill that gives a child a lot of confidence if they can master it during childhood.
List of Tokyo parks for children’s bicycle practice
List of bicycle rentals
Bicycle Safety Tips
Just for interest, here is a blog about an adult who learned to ride a bicycle for the first time.
Fire and Earthquake Safety
Assistance Manual for Foreigners in Times of Disaster