Keeping Children Safe on the Roads

Parents and carers play a vital part in teaching children how to cross the road safely. Even from a young age it’s essential to set a good example and to help your child understand why we need to stop, look and listen before stepping onto a road.

Teaching your child to cross the road safely

  • Find the safest place to cross with a clear view all around, away from parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill if possible. Explain to your child why it’s important to choose a place with a clear view.
  • Hold hands with your child, show them how to stop on the kerb, look all around and listen for traffic before they cross.
  • When there is no traffic coming, walk straight across (not diagonally) and keep looking and listening.

Safer places to cross

  • Pedestrian crossings such as puffins and pelicans have traffic lights and a button to press which controls a ‘green man’.
  • Zebra crossings have two yellow beacons and striped markings across the road. Remember to wait for cars to stop in both directions.
  • Footbridges go over roads and subways go under roads.
  • Traffic islands are places you can stand in between lanes in the centre of a road.

How else you can help

  • Explain to your child why they need to stop, look and listen when crossing the road.
  • Talk about safer places to cross and how it’s harder to see where there are parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill.
  • Help your child to learn the names of the different crossings, such as zebras, puffins, pelicans and footbridges.
  • Teach them ‘The Green Cross Code’.

Helping your child stay safe

  • Find out if cycle training for your child is available in your area.
  • Check your child's bike to see if it's roadworthy: look at brakes, tyres and lights / reflectors (when riding at dusk or at night you must have a white front light and a red back light and rear reflector, and it's a good idea to fit spoke reflectors too).
  • Make sure the bike is the right size for your child.
  • Find out where local cycle paths and lanes are.
  • Make sure your child has a helmet which fits and is worn correctly (it should not be pushed too far back on the head). Helmets must be properly fastened so they don't come off in a collision.
  • Ensure your child wears high-visibility clothing when cycling.
  • When out and about with your child look at cyclists and talk about how easy they are to see.

Cycle training

Find out if cycle training is available at your child's school – this is the best way to learn the skills and knowledge needed to stay safer on the road. You can learn more about cycle training in your area at Bikeability or contact your local Road Safety Officer through the local authority.

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