Accidents and injuries - Keeping your child safe 'out and about'

  • When transporting a baby by car, always use a correctly fitted, age appropriate rear facing car seat.
  • Never put a rear facing car seat in the front seat with an active air bag.
  • Move the baby to a front facing car seat only when they outgrow their rear facing seat (by exceeding the weight limit or becoming too tall). Try to keep them in a rear facing seat for as long as possible. The law requires that all children under 135 cm tall or the age 12 (whichever comes first) use an appropriate car seat or restraint when travelling by car.
  • Do not leave babies or toddlers unattended in cars.
  • Strap your baby securely into their car seat or buggy at all times – take care to ensure they are properly strapped in when wearing bulky clothing.
  • Keep toddlers away from the buggy when it is being folded to avoid trapped fingers.

Road safety / crossing the road

Road accidents account for a third of accidental deaths among 0-14 year olds and over half of accidental deaths for 5-14 year olds. In 2011, 2,412 children under the age of 16 were killed or seriously injured on the roads. Don’t take the risk - teach your children about road safety - click here

0-4’s Talking about traffic with your child when you’re out and about is one of the best ways for him or her to learn:

  • Play ‘spotting’ games: where’s a lorry? Can you find a bus? Let’s see who can spot a taxi first.
  • Ask your child to tell you about the vehicles waiting at the traffic lights or passing you in the car.
  • Talk about vehicles you see: which is biggest or fastest? What colours are they? Which carries the most people? Which way is it going? Do some counting.
  • Building up your child’s language will help him or her to understand traffic: use words to describe speed, size, shape, directions or talk about signs, lights, signals and road markings.
  • Talk about how we can tell when traffic is near or when it is coming towards us, asking your child when cars are safe and when they can be dangerous
  • Use a harness or wrist strap when toddlers are walking near to roads and walk with the adult kerb-side
  • Watch a road safety video with them.

Over 5’s - Teach them the Green cross Code


1. First find the safest place to cross

  • If possible, cross the road at: subways, footbridges, islands, zebra, puffin, pelican or toucan crossings, or where there is a crossing point controlled by a police officer, a school crossing patrol or a traffic warden.
  • Otherwise, choose a place where you can see clearly in all directions, and where drivers can see you.
  • Try to avoid crossing between parked cars and on sharp bends or close to the top of a hill. Move to a space where drivers and riders can see you clearly.
  • There should be space to reach the pavement on the other side.

2. Stop just before you get to the kerb

  • Do not get too close to the traffic. If there is no pavement, keep back from the edge of the road but make sure you can still see approaching traffic.
  • Give yourself lots of time to have a good look all around.

3. Look all around for traffic and listen

  • Look all around for traffic and listen.
  • Look in every direction.
  • Listen carefully because you can sometimes hear traffic before you can see it.

4. If traffic is coming, let it pass

  • Look all around again and listen.
  • Do not cross until there is a safe gap in the traffic and you are certain that there is plenty of time.
  • Remember, even if traffic is a long way off, it may be approaching very quickly.

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

  • Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross, in case there is any traffic you did not see, or in case other traffic appears suddenly.
  • Look out for cyclists and motorcyclists traveling between lanes of traffic.
  • Do not cross diagonally.

How you can help your child and other children

  • Set a good example. Use the Green Cross Code yourself.
  • Show your child how to use the Code to cross the road when you’re out and about.
  • Let your child show you that they know how to cross the road safely – start practising on quiet roads first.
  • Point out dangerous places to cross on local roads. Point out safer places as well. Some places may be safer at some times of the day than at others.
  • Use pedestrian crossings even if it involves a small detour.
  • Talk about the importance of not using a mobile phone or texting while crossing the road.
  • Remind your child that they cannot hear traffic if listening to music through earphones or see it properly if wearing a large hood.

But let’s get one thing clear: it’s still important for children to be outside.
Walking is good for children's health and fitness and we support parents who encourage their children to walk as much as possible. Taking your child in the car for short journeys puts more traffic on the road and adds to the problem.
Children can be safer on the streets if we show them how.

Crossing between parked cars

Try not to cross between parked vehicles, but if there is nowhere else to cross:

  • Choose a place where there is a space between two cars and make sure that it is easy to get to the pavement on the other side of the road.
  • Make sure neither car is about to move off - look for drivers in the cars, lights and listen for engines.
  • Don't cross near large vehicles. You could be standing in a blind spot, where the driver cannot see you.

Cycle safety

The biggest concern of adults when it comes to children walking and cycling to school is traffic danger.

This fear has driven children into the backseat to be ferried around, with 42% of primary school children now being driven to school.

Once your child is confident on their bike, getting them used to cycling on the roads will develop them in many ways. Not only will they gain a sense of freedom and independence, they’ll also improve their confidence and fitness.

How to teach road safety to your children.

Follow these basics to help you and your child stay safe when cycling:

  • make sure your child's bike fits and that all your bikes are roadworthy;
  • if you're on the road with children, take up a position behind them. If there are two adults in your group, it's a good idea to have one at the back and one in front of the children;
  • helmets are particularly recommended for young children. Ultimately, wearing a helmet is a question of individual choice and parents need to make that choice for their children;
  • set a good example, follow the Highway Code and teach children road safety and awareness.

To find out about courses that help your child gain the confidence to cycle to school, phone the National Cycle Training Helpline on 0844 736 8460/8461. Or find out if you child's school offers Bikeability or Bike It - if your school doesn't have either, pester them!

Bikeability is ‘cycling proficiency’ for the 21st century. There are three levels to teach your child, and give you peace of mind:

  • control,
  • road sense
  • confidence

Teach your child about cycle safety using the tales of the road resources

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