Children need to learn to use the roads safely and also to use their common sense when crossing a road or getting into a car. Learning to cross the road is an important part in a child’s development and necessary for their independence. Road safety should be taught by example and guidance with a trusted adult, from an early age.
Teaching a child to cross the road:
- Explain to your child why they need to stop, look and listen when crossing the road.
- Talk about safe 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 a child by example. Every time you cross the road with your child follow these steps:
- Find the safest place to cross with a clear view of all around, away from parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill if possible
- Talk about safest places to cross and how it's harder to see where there are parked cars, junctions, bends or near the brow of a hill. Explain that drivers and riders won't be able to see you either
- Holding hands with your child, show them how to stop on the kerb, look all around and listen for traffic before they cross. First explain that they must stop at the kerb and not step into the road as traffic might be coming very fast. Then they must look all around because traffic could come from any direction and they should listen because sometimes you can hear traffic before you see it
When it is safe, walk straight across (not diagonally) and keep looking and listening. Tell your child they must do this in case there is any traffic they did not see, or in case traffic appears suddenly
Make sure your child remembers what to do when crossing the road by helping them remember: Stop … Look … Listen … Walk
As well as teaching your child how to cross the road you should also ensure your child is dressed with safety in mind, particularly if they walk to school or on darker days/nights:
- wear bright or fluorescent colours and carry bags in bright colours or with high-visibility strips
- always wear reflective clothing at night
- if older children think reflective or fluorescent clothing is uncool, get some stickers for their bags or coats