Walking with young children

When your child is old enough to start walking with you, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand. Make sure hand-holding is your number one rule. If your child is likely to pull away from you, use safety reins or a wrist strap. Keep children on the inside, away from traffic, in case they trip.

As you walk, teach young children the words and ideas they need to understand the dangers of traffic. Teach them that:

  • traffic is hard and fast and can hurt and kill people, because people are much slower and soft;
  • it’s important to stay away from roads, hold hands with a grown up, and not to run near roads;
  • traffic is also smelly and can hurt your lungs – this is why it’s better to walk and not drive cars.
Join Will on a walk with his Mum and sister

Using roads independently

Many children aged eight or over are able to learn to use roads independently, although some take longer to reach this stage.

When you and your child decide it is safe to allow them to walk independently, teach them and keep reminding them about the importance of crossing safely using the Green Cross Code (stop somewhere safe where you can see, listen, look right, look left, look right again, keep listening, and only cross when you are sure it is safe).

Help children to plan the safest possible route for their journey to school, the park, shops or their friends' houses.

Hopefully you have safe pavements and crossing places and a 20mph speed limit in your community. If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to campaign for change to keep your family and others safe.