Are we doing enough to keep our children safe on the streets this winter?
This is on the minds of almost every parent each year whose child goes to school, rides a bike or generally out and about each day, regardless of the weather. Well this year I have decided to start a campaign to help bring ideas and affordable solutions to parents for this exact problem. I am a mother of six children and yes, I think about this all the time, especially when three of my children are already “fussy teenagers” who, might I add, do not like to wear anything “boring” or “old fashioned” or even the “un-cool” these days, plus the fact my teenagers like to wear dark clothes when it’s dark. Therefore getting them to put on safety gear is next to impossible.
So, I sat down this summer on the park, looking at my children at play and watching others while they went about their business and generally getting around. Everyone is so very different, complex and full of character. Its awesome. Although this did not help me narrow down as to how I was going to find a solution to my problem this year, it did however make me realize one thing, that we all have one thing in common, we ALL like to look good. Doesn’t matter what age, race or color, everyone likes to feel and look good about themselves. OK, this was my base but how to go further?
I decided to think teenagers because if you can please one of them, you can almost please anybody. Seriously. Any parent of a teenager will tell you. So I looked at my son who likes very much to ride his bike and as boys go, they are rough with their clothes and belongings. I already do printed promotional items, and I also use this as a craft for my children to encourage learning about possibilities with stuff. I have also used it as a fund raiser for schools in my past. Anyway, here we were creating these new t-shirts because it was a school break and I needed to continue to work, so I needed something for the kids to do. My son made a random design for his clothing, and it was mono-color and simple. This was my idea hatching right here…
I stopped all work, it was a “hot off the press” idea moment that I did not want to stop for a second, I was excited with this and needed to get it proof tested right away. What was it? REFLECTIVE LOGOS on clothing that children themselves designed. WOW!!! This could be it. Would my son actually like it? Would he wear it? There was only one way to find out.
Well I worked on his design with him and he was extremely eager to see his own design turn into something different than anything else I am currently making. It was great. We had a good bonding time creating this new pieces of clothing and it really didn’t take us long to do a proof test.
They came out really well. I made a hoodie and sweat pants that he likes to wear all the time. They came out good quality finish product and my son was ecstatic with his little designs, it was relatively quick to make and we could not wait for the sun to go down to test these out. While we was waiting, I noticed how my son wore these almost all day when he went out. He couldn’t wait to show off to his friends his designs made onto clothing that he wore. So that was my 1st check off the list, he liked them….
Soon, the sun went down and we was getting ready to go out. Before we did, I got my son to pose for a mini photo shoot with his bike. We did not ride anywhere, but for the purpose of this experiment, we stood next to the road to see if headlights would reflect off the clothing…. Ohhhh, my word, it certainly did. I took photos (as seen above image) and as you can see the flash I used reflected off the clothing in same way as a car headlight would shine off of him. I look front facing, side facing and back facing photos for the purpose of the project. It was a huge success. My son was happy to make his own designs, I was happy that he was finally wearing safety clothing of some sorts.
The next day, I called a few people and got my idea accepted by the NY coalition of road safety and pedestrians program. On which level, I am not sure, but this idea is a success in my eyes and teenagers tested for safety. I could also make sports bags, drawstring bags…. the list is endless and all for the children’s benefit. If I can save even ONE child by this campaign, then my efforts will not be in vein. I plan to make all sorts available for children of all ages and for ALL budget because more than anything, being affordable is something very important to me.
So back to my original question, YES, yes I think I have finally exhausted all options to help keep my children safe this winter while they are outside in this dwindling daylight. Yes, I am happy that I can get my teenagers to wear safety clothing. Finally, yes, I think I will make some decals for my baby stroller too. So how about you? Are you feeling confident that your children are safe and seen this winter?