Lessons for Life
The best and most important road safety teacher is a
Road safety education begins in the home at
the beginning of a child's life. It is an accepted fact that
children mimic the behaviours of those they spend the most
time with. So the way you cross a road, ride a bicycle or drive a
car sets an example for a child in your care. Much is
made both anecdotally and statistically, about the high rates
of death and serious injury amongst young (particularly male)
drivers. The Road Safety Team believe much of the behaviour that
causes this mayhem, needs to be addressed by shaping attitudes in
responsible and safe road use right from the beginning of a child's
development. A safe child pedestrian is more likely to become a
safe cyclist and likewise a safe cyclist will become a safer and
more responsible motorcyclist and/or driver.
Teaching road safety effectively involves theory, practice and
example. But by far the biggest influence on a pre school child is
the example their parent or carer sets. Teaching road safety should
not be looked at as something special or a task to be tackled in
isolation. Children are out and about with their parents/carers and
will follow their example good or bad. It's no good saying
"don't do as I do, do as I say" because the subliminal
message you send every time you cross a road, ride a bicycle or
drive a car is "this is the way to do it ".
Parents should not wait for schools to teach road
safety. Teaching road safety is the responsibility
of parents, with schools and other agencies building on that
foundation to give children good road safety
The facts are:
- In 2011 2412 children (0 to 15 years old) were
killed or seriously injured on the road and 1602 of them were
pedestrians, many of them close to their homes
- Boys are 5 times more likely than girls to be killed or
- Children aged 12 – 15 are the most likely to be killed or
Ages 1 to 4 Protect your Child
- Never let a child less than 5 years out alone. They cannot cope
with traffic, even if they are out with an older child.
- Choose somewhere safe for children to play.
- Playing on the pavement or in the road, however quiet, can be
dangerous and should be avoided. If there is nowhere else for
children to go, they must be supervised by an adult.
- When children are out walking they should walk on the inside of
the pavement, parents keeping a tight hold of their hands if not on
their reins or in a pushchair.
- Young children should never be allowed to ride a
bike,trike,scooter or skate board on the road .
- Whenever children are out walking, parents should hold their
hands and talk about what they are doing and why.
- As they become older start to teach them the main points
of the Green Cross Code.
Ages <7 to 9 Time for the Green Cross Code
From the age of 7 the six rules of the Green Cross Code should
- Find a safe place to cross
- Stop on the pavement slightly back from the kerb
- Look both left and right and all around
- Listen ( some vehicles can be heard before they are seen)
- Think ( you have to decide if its safe to cross)
- Cross the Road in a straight line at a normal walking pace
(keep looking and keep listening)
For a fun game to reinforce this message visit the official
the Road website.(opens in a new window)
When parents are sure their children know and
understand the Green Cross Code, they should let them start by
crossing the quiet roads where they have been practising. The child
should be watched and tested before being allowed to cross
Children, together with parents, should start to practice crossing
busier roads together, doing this many times before allowing
children to cross alone.
Once children are ready to make the journey to school alone, risk
of incidents can be reduced further by making them easily
seen, bright or fluorescent clothes show up best by day, especially
in dull or misty weather, but fluorescent clothing does not work
Ages<10 to 15 Help them think for themselves
Parents should keep talking to their children
about the dangers of traffic. Pointing out people who are
endangering themselves or others. Parents should check the
routes to school and discuss together how to deal with any dangers
and how to avoid them.
Children should practice judging speed and distance of approaching
vehicles on a busy road and identifying safe gaps for
crossing. Parents should stress to children that they should
never blindly follow others across the road. They must always think
Bedford Borough Council Road Safety