According to a BBC article, there will be no more road safety public service announcements on British TV. Perhaps they think children are driven everywhere these days and don’t need to worry about which way to look before crossing the street. The reason given by the Department for Transport is that it has decided to ‘re-prioritize’ its budget.
It’s a shame. I am sure my parents told me countless times to be careful crossing the streets, or to stop at the kerb and look both ways, but I don’t remember that at all. What I do remember is the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero-like figure telling kid to “Stop, look, and listen” and to use the green cross code.
I was also rather fond of Tufty the Squirrel, a young squirrel with friends who frequently got hit by cars. But Tufty himself always avoids danger, thanks to the wise words of his mother, Mrs. Fluffy Tail. My sister even had a Tufty Road Safety board game. (image from http://www.kidsera.com/)
However, the most memorable public safety announcements from my childhood were not just about road safety. There was an extremely creepy boy with a cat named Charley. The clips would either have Charley saving the little boy from danger, or suffering himself in order to teach everyone a lesson. Whenever I heard “Charley says…” I knew I should pay attention!
The downside of all these warnings was that as a child, I was gripped with an absolute fear of anything even slightly dangerous. Must have been a lot of fun for my parents. Hold a sparkler on Guy Fawkes Night? Not likely. That’s third degree burns for sure. Stand in the front row at the fireworks display? Surely about a mile away is the closest we should get. Strike a match to light a birthday cake candle as a special treat? Do you want me to burst into flames? Swim in anything other than a swimming pool? Giant weeds will surely drag me to my death. Plug in or unplug the vacuum cleaner because I’m the closest to it? Are you trying to electrocute me? Once, I showed my husband some “Charley says” videos. He looked at me and said “That explains a lot.”