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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Road safety for children

Accidents on the road are a major cause of injury and death for children of all ages. Find out how you can help to keep your child safe by setting a good example and teaching them the rules of the road.

Set a good example yourself

You should start teaching your child about the dangers of the road as early as possible so they develop a good road and traffic awareness. You can set a good example by:

  • explaining road safety and getting them to talk about it
  • using the Green Cross Code
  • encouraging your child to notice and discuss what they see around them on the road
  • always crossing roads at the safest place, preferably a pedestrian crossing
  • never using a mobile phone or listening to music while crossing the road
  • never taking risks as your child will copy you
  • wearing bright, fluorescent or reflective clothing when you’re out and about so drivers can see you
  • practising judging speed and distance with them
  • helping them to work out the safest routes for journeys they make

The Green Cross Code

Children should not be allowed out alone until they are old enough to understand the Green Cross Code and use it properly. The age is different for all children but it is generally not before they are eight years old.

Road safety for 3 to 5 year olds

When you start the learning process you should:

  • make sure your child walks on the side of the pavement away from the traffic
  • use reins, hold your child’s hand or get them to hold onto the buggy or pushchair if you’re using one
  • look out for, and encourage your child to look out for, hidden entrances or driveways crossing the pavement

Road safety for 5 to 7 year olds

At this age you should still hold hands with your child when you cross the road. You should also:

  • practice crossing on quiet roads near where you live, firstly with you taking the decisions, then letting your child lead you
  • always cross the road at the safest place where you can see in all directions - never cross diagonally
  • set up a rota with other parents to take your child to school - this is a good way to free up some time for you

Road safety for 7 to 11 year olds

You can help your child be independent, as well as staying safer on the road, as they grow older by teaching them the Green Cross Code. When you are sure they know and understand it you can:

  • let them cross quiet roads where you’ve been practising - watching and testing them before you let them do it alone
  • gradually move on to practising on busier roads together - do this many times before you let you child cross alone, and while you watch
  • help them plan safe routes to school

Safe routes to school

Your local council can help you find the safest routes for your child to walk or cycle to their school. Follow the link below to find your local council and get advice on safe and environmentally friendly school travel in your area.

Road safety for teenagers

Teenagers are more likely to be killed or injured in a road accident than any other age group. Help keep your child safe by reminding them to:

  • avoid distractions like listening to music on headphones, mobile phone calls, texting and talking to their friends while crossing the road
  • identify safe gaps to cross - you should practice judging the speed and distance of approaching vehicles on busy roads with them
  • never take chances when crossing roads - cars may not be able to stop, so they should wait for a big gap in the traffic
  • always use a pedestrian crossing

Additional links

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