If planning a trip on foot, you must firstly assess your trip for risks. This means:
a. planning what you consider to be the safest route;
b. identifying any hazards and the risks they pose on that route; and
c. deciding if the trip can be done safely or not. If not, it shouldn’t be done.
Use a safe route
- Use pavements that are wide enough for two children to walk hand in hand (if you work in early years, it needs to be wide enough for two children and an adult in the middle, so you can hold both children’s hands safely).
- Only cross roads in places where there are official crossings (for example, a Pelican Crossing) or the road is very quiet and traffic very slow and the view is very clear both ways (eg. a residential cul-de-sac).
- Use a route with a speed limit of 30mph or lower and which is not plagued by speeding drivers. Alternatively, use a route where the children are completely separated and protected from traffic (for example, by crash barriers between the pavement and the road or by a pedestrianised underpass or bridge).
Download this risk assessment form template. You may need to adapt it to take into account local factors.
If you are in doubt about the safety of your trip, consult your Local Authority’s road safety officer with responsibility for child pedestrian safety. You could also consult your local police officer with responsibility for traffic.
- Have AT LEAST one responsible adult volunteer for every eight children aged 8 or over (more if the children are younger).
- If a child is under 5 they MUST hold an adult’s hand at all times, so you will need one adult to every two children.
- Talk to the children before each walk about the safety rules; walk calmly, in a crocodile, in twos, holding hands. Don’t mess about.
- Talk to adult volunteers before a walk so they know to focus on the children’s safety and not to chat among themselves.
- Adults AND children should wear high visibility vests.
You do not have the power to stop traffic. If lots of children will need to cross the road at once, consult your local police station and see if an officer can stop the traffic for you.
Advice for carers of children who are not yet walking
If you are a carer and pushing a buggy you are not advised to also be responsible for children who are walking, as you cannot easily control a buggy with one hand and hold another child’s with your other hand. If parents can supply you with front or back carriers for babies and crawlers, it’s much easier for you – it means you still have two hands free for two children of walking age. If you are pushing a buggy, stay well away from the kerb. Sadly, there are cases of people falling into the road, or vehicles mounting the pavement. Always keep buggies well back from the edge when crossing roads. We have all seen parents about to cross the road with their buggy pushed in front of them and already partly on the road before it is safe to cross. Never do this – you are endangering the child’s life.