Road safety for young children

Getting road safety drilled into your little ones now will mean it's second nature to them by the time they're old enough to be out and about on their own

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The Green Cross Code: Stop, look, listen and think!

Mother and son crossing road

Your child may already be familiar with the Green Cross Code from school, but it's up to you to reinforce it. Give them time and space to practise it, even if it means walking a few yards behind them. Here are the basics:

1. First find the safest place to cross

Encourage your child to look out for safe crossing spots eg zebra, pelican or toucan crossings as well as islands, subways or crossings controlled by a traffic warden.

They should aim to cross at a spot where they can see clearly in all directions and where they can be seen, so not between parked cars.

2. Stop just before you get to the kerb

Teach your child to position themselves so they're not too close to the edge of the kerb and where they can take their time looking around for traffic.

3. Look all around for traffic and listen

4. If traffic is coming, let it pass

Children find it hard to judge the distance and speed of vehicles. Tell them it's always better to take their time and wait for all traffic to pass. 

5. When it is safe, go straight across the road - but do not run

They should keep looking and listening as they cross. 

Mumsnetters' tips for teaching road safety

Child at pedestrian crossing
  • "It takes years to learn to cross safely, because children need to make so many judgements. If you practise the Green Cross Code out loud whenever you cross the road, they will pick it up from you. Eventually, you'll be able to say: 'What do you think? Is it safe to cross?'"

  • "I 'trained' my two by walking with them so they knew the route, then behind them at a distance. I let them do errands on their own to build up their confidence."

  • "When my husband was young, his mother got a cardboard box and ran over it with the car. Apparently he was quite shocked by it but was much more careful around cars afterwards."

  • "I told my son that the only thing standing between him and going out by himself was crossing the road. He focused super-hard when he heard that. Every time he crossed by himself, I praised him to high heaven."


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Last updated: over 1 year ago