Active transport, a safe vehicle and the right type of seat for toddlers can be just as important as a safe ride, according to the BC Government.
With the arrival of a new province, the provincial government is looking to improve the accessibility of the province’s child-friendly programs.
The new guidelines, which were released Thursday, recommend that children aged five and under should be able to ride their own scooters and wheelchairs.
They also recommend that adults who ride bikes should be allowed to do so, and that children should be given a safe way to get to and from schools.
The guidelines also say children should not be permitted to play on the street or play outdoors with their toys.
“We know that children have a different body shape, that they have different facial features, that their ears are different and that their eyes are different, so they can’t really sit still,” said Stephanie Loh, a spokeswoman for the B.C. Children’s Advocacy Society.
Children should also be given appropriate tools to use in the field, Loh said.
“They shouldn’t be allowed in vehicles or on foot without appropriate tools.
They shouldn’t have access to toys that are too large, too heavy.”
The guidelines come after a report from the BC Children’s Advocate Service found that more than two-thirds of children aged six to 12 have disabilities and that about half of all B. Canada’s children are in vehicles.
The report says many of these disabilities are related to learning difficulties, such as learning disabilities, dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
In 2016, a study from the University of British Columbia found that about 30 per cent of B. Canadians have learning disabilities.
The BC Government has been taking steps to improve child safety, including improving the ability of caregivers to monitor their children’s movements and provide appropriate equipment and training.
While the new guidelines are intended to make children safer in vehicles, they also make the safety of children in public spaces a priority.
“The key message is that we want kids to be safe in the streets, but we want them to be able, if they want, to take a bike to school,” said Loh.
“We want them not to be trapped on the sidewalk, but be able and comfortable with a vehicle.”
In Vancouver, there are no restrictions on the use of scooters, bicycles or other mobility devices for children younger than four, though a few park benches in the city have been converted to walkways and a number of playgrounds have been turned into play areas.