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Walking and road safety for children

Children under 12 should not cross the road alone. They still do not understand danger and cannot judge how far away a car is or how fast it's moving.

Walking with children

Always accompany children on or near roads. Hold their hands at all times.

You can help them stay safe by:

  • wearing reflective or high-vis clothing at night and on country roads
  • using a torch on poorly lit roads and country roads

Learning and teaching road safety

You need to teach children about road safety from when they are very young.

Teach your child the Safe Cross Code song (video) for crossing the road.

The words help them learn to:

  • look for a safe place to cross the road
  • stop and wait
  • look all around and listen before they cross the road
  • let all the traffic pass them
  • keep watching as they walk straight across the road

Safe Cross Code -

Road safety education for primary school children -

Children mostly learn by copying, so be sure to follow the rules yourself.

Teach them the risks

Go out walking in the local area with your child and talk about the risks you come across. This should help you find out what your child thinks is safe and what you need to remind them about.

Also tell your child:

  • to hold your hand at all times
  • not to cross the road between parked cars
  • not to play around parked cars
  • to cross at traffic lights or pedestrian crossings if possible
  • never to cross at a bend
  • to use a footpath if there is one
  • not to run out to meet or wave goodbye to visitors while a car is moving

If there is no footpath, teach children to walk:

  • on the right-hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic
  • close to the side of the road

Driveways and at home

Teach your child the importance of road safety in the driveway or avenue of their home.

Teach them to not go near moving vehicles. Teach them to look out for reversing vehicles.

Show them the blind spots so that they understand that a driver cannot always see them.

Keeping your child safe while driving

Page last reviewed: 27 March 2023
Next review due: 27 March 2026