How to Teach Your Child About Road Safety

At what age do you let your children cross the road by themselves and how do you teach them road safety awareness?

I am planning to teach my 8 year-old how to cross the road over the Easter holidays, so I pulled together some of the best tips and resources from around the web to help me. I thought perhaps you’d like them too.   1. Start to teach your kids about road safety awareness while you’re still walking around with them. Begin by making them aware of their senses, especially hearing and sight.   2. Explain basic safety tips while still at home such as using pedestrian crossings, watching for the ‘green man’, only crossing the road where there is good visibility.   3. Teach your kids to stop, look and listen. They need to be aware that drivers don’t always stop, even at crossings.  

  4. Children should ALWAYS stop well back from kerb and do their safety checks before stepping into the road. Practice this even with small driveways that cross the pavement; it’s just a good habit to form.   5. If you are driving with your child, point out the different kinds of crossings and talk about how pedestrians are crossing the road. This will help your child understand things from a driver’s perspective.   6. Help your children understand the meaning of various road signs; this will help them learn that drivers are also looking at and interpreting signs   7. Practice, practice, practice. Hold your child’s hand and ask them to show you a safe place to cross the road. Go through the motions with them and get them to tell you what is happening in their own words to show that they have understood.   8. Encourage your child to make eye contact with drivers as this means that they have been seen.   9. Teach your children to cross the road in a straight line, not diagonally   Online Road Safety Resources Children between the ages of 7-11 should be ready to learn the Green Cross Code. You can download a fact sheet to help here. Brake, the road safety charity have lots of great teaching resources such as this colouring sheet for younger children which you can use as a talking point with your children. There are some nice resources at Roadwise including a Green Cross Code and road signs game. The Department of Transport site Tales of the Road has lots of rather hard-hitting resources for older children. Not for the faint-hearted but powerful road safety messages.

What age do you think a child should be before crossing the road alone?

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