Kids in Caravan Parks

Are kids given too much free rein in caravan parks?

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Any parent would find the footage horrendous. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.

Because it so graphically illustrates the need for everyone to take care, even in the relatively safe confines of a caravan park, GoRV is linking to this dash cam footage of a child being struck by a car in a caravan park, which was shared on Facebook. We do, however, recommend viewer discretion – some might find it distressing.

PARENTAL RESPONSIBILTY

This footage raises the question of parental responsibility in van parks. Let’s face it: kids will be kids and no matter how vigilant the parent, accidents can and do happen.

“We have stayed in caravan parks where all children need to sit a little test to get their bike/scooter ‘licence’,” Adele Dyson of Caravanning with Kids told GoRV. “At the time we wondered if this was overkill but our kids learnt a lot about the rules of the park and traffic and really enjoyed the process. We believe that kids should wear helmets at all times and treat the paths as they would roads.”

Almost every child or young teenager has broken the rules at van parks. Of course, a cardinal sin is for a kid to cut through the sites of other campers. Almost all kids have done it, despite being (almost constantly) told not to.

“We ask our kids to treat other sites like they are homes on a street,” Adele said. “Would you take a shortcut through someone’s backyard? Nope. Then stick to the designated pathways. This also means they are less likely to get lost.”

KID-FREE ZONES?

Some parks and campgrounds have special zones for campers with dogs, generators, etc. Would a zone for campers with children be a good thing? That way, they could run amok without upsetting other campers.

“I think there are many campers out there who would love child-free areas!” Adele said. “Generators are banned at many places for good reason. Many of them are so loud! But in all seriousness, if we start segregating, where would it stop? A grey nomad-free zone, an outdoor cooking-free zone?”

She makes a good point – caravanning, after all, should be about inclusion; however, kids running hell-for-leather around a van park also raises the question of privacy.

“If you want total privacy, then maybe don’t stay in a caravan park!” Adele said. “We encourage our children to introduce themselves to their neighbours, respect their property and be aware of everyone’s space. It’s okay to squeal and carry on at the playground but we try to get them to ‘tone it down’ if we are only metres away from people. We call these ‘park rules’ and we are consistent with them. They sometimes need a gentle reminder but so do we after a few too many happy hour drinks!

“Parents definitely need to take responsibility and finding the balance on holidays can be tough. We are more relaxed while on holidays but we still expect manners and respect from our kids.”

KIDS’ SAFETY

Back to the footage of the child struck by the car. Most people would assume that a caravan park is one of the safest places they could stay… and generally they are. But just like in a driveway at home, or perhaps on a crowded road during school pick-up, complacency can lead to dangerous situations.

Adele said parental vigilance was especially necessary when a caravan park was too busy and very quiet.

“A very busy caravan park might have loads of kids around on bikes, scooters, etc., and lots of cars coming in and out and caravans checking in and out,” she said. “On the flip side of this, when it is very quiet, sometimes the kids can ‘forget’ to take care. Extra care needs to be taken at parks that are on the water’s edge. These parks are gorgeous but extra supervision is required, especially for young kids.”

What do you think? Have your say below.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Creating a ‘safe riding destination’ in a holiday park with the installation of a Modular Pumptrack is a great solution. Pumptracks are already proving successful in many caravan parks as they attract the kids to have fun on their bikes, scooters and skateboards in one area… reducing the amount of time they spend riding on the roads and riding in around the caravans, cars and amenity blocks etc. We see it as a perfect solution for parks…checkout BIG4 Apollo Bay, NRMA Victor Harbor Beachfront, BIG4 Renmark, Nagambie Lakes Leisure Park just to name a few. They will tell you first hand how their pumptrack helps improve road safety in their parks. With the added bonus that parents know where their kids are riding.

  2. Thanks you for this report. But can I just say one thing in defence of the car driver. You say that the child was struck by the car but it is clearly the other way round. I have had occasion when I heard a bang and crying and came out to find that a kid on a sake board has wedged himself under my parked car.

  3. Every park I’ve been in has a speed limit of Walking speed that car was going faster than Walking speed regardless of who ran into who and it is common to see people going to fast in caravan parks

  4. Best idea is to avoid caravan parks in school holidays if you want peace and quiet. I love my kids ,grand kids, and great grand kids but I am not particularly fond of other kids. They are often noisy, rude, and very naughty especially when other people just want to chill out and relax. So avoid the school holidays. Kids needed to be taught about the rights of other residents of the park and also the road rules that are also needed to be obeyed in caravan parks. Have witnessed many near accidents with kids, such as this little girl, being totally oblivious to her own safety while riding her bike. I feel sorry for the little girl, but even more sorry for the poor driver, who would be traumatized as well as suffering damage to his car, through no fault of his own. Time for parents to control their children and understand that not everyone thinks their kids are gorgeous.

  5. I watched the video, and luckily the driver was not going fast. The girl on the bike came around the corner quite fast, and didn’t check to see first. There’s little doubt, that she ran into him, and I’m glad that she was wearing a helmet and wasn’t too badly hurt. Her parents should certainly teach her to be more careful when riding her bike around the park, and especially towards intersections.

  6. hmm i find perants yelling there heads
    off at the kids more annoying than the
    kids.Why not pull them to one side
    and bring out.a book.on child behaviour
    and hit them over the head with.it several
    times to
    instill some.sense ofwrong doing.
    and then start on the kids

  7. The shrubs need to be removed so you can have a clear view all around an intersection, and yes the car involved may have been traveling a little fast, the girls safety helmet did its job. bless.

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