Ensure Your Child’s Safety When Driving This Winter.

When driving, it’s a big responsibility transporting any passengers, and extra care and preparation is needed when younger children are in the car.

Are you really driving as safely as you can?

Keeping Your Car in Tip Top Condition

You need to make sure your care is road worthy, that tyres are in good condition, oil and water and screen wash is kept topped up, and that you have a battery charger for those cold winter days when it just won’t start. For the best equipment for your car, you can look at Best Buy Auto Equipment  who can also be a stockist for car parts if you find your car suffering from problems with the engine, clutch etc. Here you can find out the answers to questions such as how much does it cost for a car lift? and can get the best price for equipment.

Distractions

Even taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be extremely hazardous. In a few seconds you’ll have travelled several yards, and in that time the situation in front of you can change rapidly.

Are you prone to, say, looking at the radio or heating controls instead of the road? Do you tend to look back to address people in the back seat? Try to curb these tendencies. You owe it to your passengers to maintain focus.

Preparation

Ensure you know the laws regarding child seats. Make sure young children are properly seated and secure. If you’re using child seats, are they still up to the job? Can you fix them securely?

Have you remembered to switch off the airbag if your child is seated in the front? Indeed, can you switch off the airbag in your model of car? If not, be careful of what size child sits in the front as an airbag going off could injure rather than protect them.

Why not re-acquaint yourself with the rules of the road? Your knowledge may be outdated, so check the Highway Code and try some of the questions asked in example driving theory tests.

Check that you have the correct car seat.

Check that you have the correct car seat.

Tiredness and being alert

Do you drive when tired or fatigued? If so, be aware that reduced reactions can have dire consequences. It’s important to take breaks or not even drive in the first place if you think you’re not 100% alert.

Using phones and other equipment

While against the law, do you still use your mobile hand-held while driving? As in ‘distractions’ above anything that takes some or all of your attention off the road is highly dangerous to you and your young passengers.

Use a hands-free Bluetooth device if your car doesn’t have it built in. Even then, protracted and in depth phone conversations on the move are not advisable.

The same applies to adjusting music devices such as iPods or stereos.

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Margins for error

While modern cars have many safety features designed to reduce the likelihood of accidents, don’t become complacent. For example, in wet conditions slow down rather than rely on your car’s anti-skid features such as stability control and anti lock brakes to get you out of trouble.

Safety equipment is there to help as a ‘back up’ but it can’t compensate for irresponsible driving.

Using sat nav

While sat navs make a big difference to finding the way in unfamiliar territory, be aware of your actions while following directions. When you’re told to turn or change lanes, don’t forget to take the usual precautions such as checking the mirror and indicating properly.

Set Sat Nav before you start driving, or stop to reset it.

Set Sat Nav before you start driving, or stop to reset it.

Safety first

Driving yourself and young family members about is a major responsibility, and there’s much you can do to be safe. A lot is common sense, but preparation and keeping your focus on the driving plays a major part. While you must focus on seats etc, remember that the vast majority of the things you can do to ensure your child’s safety involves your own performance as a safe, responsible driver.

 

Bonfire Night Fun

 

Remember, Remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. Bonfire night is one of my favourite nights of the year, I love the chance to get wrapped up in your new Winter woollies, watching the sky light up with the most beautiful fireworks, keeping warm around a bonfire, whilst filling my face with hotdogs and hot chocolate. In general, I am not a fan of the great outdoors once Summer is ended, but for Bonfire Night I will make an exception.

During my childhood it was the norm to have a bonfire and fireworks in your garden, with Catherine Wheels tied to fence posts, bangers that made a lot of noise but did very little else, and everyone, including the nans and grandads and the smallest of children, holding a sparkler. If you are going to enjoy fireworks in your own garden, you need to look for a reputable supplier of safe fireworks from a company like Let’s Party Fireworks, who offer high quality fireworks like fountain fireworks, which are less noisy than regular fireworks, but with all the colour and sparkle, making them great if you have small children.

Health and safety implications, and the importing of so many unsafe fireworks has led to a rise in the popularity of organised firework events. There are so many lovely, organised displays that often tie in the fun of the fair, food stalls and fireworks that are really exceptional in their size and style, that it is now a whole family event to go to a real bonfire display.

I usually attend the bonfire at my son’s school, we’ve been for the last five years and it is always a great, professional display which also raises a lot of money for the school. If you are still looking for an organised display that is local to you, a good online search should help point the way to many displays in your area.

If you are going to a bonfire and fireworks display this year, there are a few handy tips that you can use in order to make your night go with a bang. The first is that you wrap up accordingly. The weather might be pretty mild for November, but once the sun goes down, it can be pretty chilly. Hat and gloves are a must, with leather gloves being a great idea if you are the sort of person who gets ketchup everywhere. Another way to keep warm and snug is to get there early to grab a spot near the bonfire – just head any safety signs and don’t get too close. Bonfires and firework displays are fun for all the family, but they can be very loud, which can be quite frightening for younger children (my boy is almost 9 and is still quite wary of the big bangs). For very young children ear protectors can be a sensible way to enjoy the lights and avoid the bangs.

Whatever you decide to do this November 5th, have lots of fun and, most importantly, stay safe.

The Snowman enchants at the Birmingham Rep

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, The Snowman made a triumphant return to the place where it all started last night, when it opened at the Birmingham Rep, delighting audiences of all ages. The timeless story of a little boy whose snowman comes to life and takes him on a unforgettable adventure is a delight, and in the charming Lewis Chan, it has a truly adorable leading man.

The Snowman is based on the classic Raymond Briggs story that was later turned into a animated film that is now a perennial classic, with the beautiful ‘Walking in the Air’ as much a part of Christmas as mince pies are. The theatre version is just as stunning and memorable, a perfect combination of mime and acting, music and dance, all held together with snowy backdrops and adorable life sized toys and animals.

The Boy (Lewis Chan) is excited to see the outside world transformed into a winter wonderland, and heads outside to enjoy the snow, making a rather large snowman in his garden. When night falls and his parents are asleep, the Boy creeps out to check on his snowman. He finds it has magically come to life and starts out on a night of adventure, first in the confines of his home, and then, after ‘Walking in the Air’, in a wonderful world of Snow people and Ice Princesses and even a certain Santa Claus. But even the best of adventures have to end, with the boy flying back to his bedroom as the sun comes up on Christmas Morning. But was it all a lovely dream?

Set-Up shots showing The Snowman @ Birmingham Rep Theatre.
©Tristram Kenton 

As mentioned, Lewis Chan was simply lovely in the role of the boy. Charming and adorable in a role could be annoying, Oscar had just the right amount of wide eyed wonder and his dancing and acting were both admirable. Also wonderful was the Snowman played by Martin Fenton, who managed to be both graceful and lumbersome in his dance with the enchanting Ice Princess. The beautiful sets added so much to the story, and the moment when The Snowman and The Boy finally soar into the sky actually had me wiping tears away – a lovely, magical moment.

Set-Up shots showing The Snowman @ Birmingham Rep Theatre.
©Tristram Kenton

There are not many theatrical experiences that offer the opportunity to watch a giant pineapple, coconut and banana limbo dancing, and with a stunning ending that I won’t spoil here (clue, you usually have to be outside to experience this), The Snowman continues to delight and enthrall audiences just like it did during Christmas 1993.

The Snowman

The HOUSE at The REP

Click here for ticket and performance information.