Is school run worth the danger?

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

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W e would do anything to keep our children safe, for most of us it is the basic of all instincts; protect your young.

From the moment they enter this world, all crinkly and gasping for breath, we wrap our protective arms around them and form what we hope is an impenetrable safety bubble.

We check on them every five minutes to ensure they are still breathing and have 999 on speed dial just in case a warm forehead heralds an outbreak of dengue fever.

Expensive anti-bacterial sheets are purchased and dummies, made from materials you have only ever seen on Tomorrow’s World, are apparently “The safest thing on the market.”

Cots are encased in plastic, in case baby gets a splinter, bars are fitted to the stairs in case baby gets a bump, and every appliance in the kitchen is sterilised a million times, just in case baby gets a germ.

We wrap them in cotton wool because they are our precious little bundle of joy, our responsibility, at least that’s how I felt.

So why then, when we allow them out of our sight and wave them off, out into the big wide world, do some of us throw caution to the wind?

According to some schools in Peterborough, pick up and drop times outside their gates resembles something akin to the wild west, with cars parked at all angles and children taking their lives into their hands in a bid to find mum.

I have seen with my own eyes, cars parked four abreast, with mums and dads desperate to get as close as they can to school, so that they don’t have to walk too far (and believe me, some of them could do with the exercise).

It’s as if that primeval safety instinct has been lost, that other people’s children somehow don’t count, that our need is greater and more important than the next person’s, even when children’s safety is at stake.

Sarah Skinner is the head teacher at Queen’s Drive Infants school, and she claims, that it is only a matter of time before one of her pupils is seriously hurt, due to the dangerous parking of parents.

This, despite the fact, that parents have permission to park nearby at the Thomas Deacon academy, but then I suppose that involves effort.

The city council, Prevention and Enforcement Service officers, have been cracking down and have made over 680 visits to problem schools since last April, but it seems some parents are failing to heed the safety warnings.

I have witnessed first-hand the level of abuse that these officers encounter every day and I can tell you that it is not pleasant, you would think that they were the ones putting children’s lives in danger and not the parents.

What’s worse is that this thoughtlessness is occurring at schools right across the city, and many of these parents live less than a mile or two from school.

Now I know that we all have very important things to do and that most of these things had to be done yesterday, but would it really kill any us of to leave the car in the garage once in a while and walk?

Who knows, it might even save a child’s life, possibly yours.