Before they are ten years old, children have not developed the skills and knowledge to handle risky situations on the road. They are impulsive and their actions can take drivers by surprise. Children are at risk of being hit by vehicles if they run into traffic, play around driveways, play in the street or misjudge when crossing the road.

Parents or caregivers can help children by setting clear limits and guidance according to the age, personality and developmental stage of the child.

Pedestrian safety for children

Follow these guidelines when teaching children about walking near roads and traffic.

  • Set clear limits for places that they can walk safely. Find places away from streets, driveways or parking lots and choose locations such as fenced areas, parks and playgrounds.
  • Practice how to cross the street safely in everyday situations such as going to the shops, visiting a friend or going to school. Always set a good example by crossing a street properly and using road crossings where available.
  • Teach your child to get in and out of the car on the kerb side avoiding the dangers from passing cars.
  • Teach your children the basic elements of crossing safely using the Stop, Look, Listen and Think approach to crossing the road. This is:
    • Stop one step back from the curb
    • Look and listen for traffic
    • Decide if it is safe to cross the road
    • Keep looking and listening while crossing

Talk about road rules in simple terms so your child understands why you need to be careful and explain what can happen when rules are broken. For more detailed information see the RACV website walking safely with children section.