7 vital road safety skills you must teach your child

Walk to School Month
Worried about your child walking to school on their own? Help them become street savvy during Walk to School Month by teaching them these key principles of walking safely.

Standing on the pavement waiting to cross the road can be a nerve-wracking experience with young children, and you wouldn’t be the only parent to have nightmares about your child wriggling away from your grasp (if you can convince them to hold your hand at all!) or standing just that bit too close to the edge of the kerb. Becoming road-savvy is a key life skill for primary school children, though. By making sure your child knows how to recognise dangerous situations and understand their responsibility as a pedestrian, you can help them gain the confidence they need to stay safe on the roads as they get older.

Pedestrian support charity Living Streets organises Walk to School Month, and recommends that children learn these seven safety skills on their walk to school:

1. How to cross the road safely at each of the different crossing points on the journey. (Set a good example by always using designated crossing points when you walk together.

2. How to navigate using key landmarks – this will give them confidence when they start to walk alone, or with friends, on the journey to school.

3. How to be streetwise and watch for dangerous situations – pay attention to how your child follows road safety rules.

4. How be aware of problems on the route to school, and to tell you about them – this includes a crossing not working properly, a badly cracked pavement or speed limits being broken. Check these out yourself, and then report them to your local council if necessary.

5. How to cross by the school gates – there may be car congestion in this area when other children are being dropped off or picked up. Ask your school about setting up a ‘car free zone’ around the school gates.

6. How to be extra careful when crossing the road – research shows that primary-school-aged children are unable to accurately judge the speed at which cars are travelling, so make sure that they know not to take risks by waiting for green lights and allowing plenty of crossing time if they are not at a pedestrian crossing.

7. How to gain independence and confidence by walking on their own – doing this once they’re old enough will help reinforce the road safety skills they’ve learned. 

Read more about the benefits of walking to school and getting your kids into walking activities.