Think! Education

Pedestrian safety

The facts

  • Every week, on average six children under the age of 5 are killed or seriously injured on Great Britainís roads.
  • 187 children aged 0-4 years old were killed or seriously injured whilst on foot in 2014. Pedestrians accounted for 65% of child casualties in this age group followed by those seated in cars (28%) and cyclists (1%).

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 safe on the streets if we show them how. What’s the best way to do this?

1. Set a good example

  • When you cross the road, don’t take risks – your children will copy you.
  • Remember to find a safe place to cross, then stop, look and listen.
  • Don’t use your mobile phone while crossing the road.
  • Wearing bright colours or fluorescent and reflective clothing helps motorists to see you (see p7).

2.  Hold hands

  • Always hold hands with your young child near traffic (or make sure they hold onto a buggy if you’re pushing one).
  • Make sure your child walks on the side of the pavement away from the traffic.
  • If there is no pavement walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

3. Find safest places to cross the road

  • If you can, use traffic islands, zebra crossings, pedestrian crossings, footbridges and subways (see p7–8)
  • Cross where you can see clearly in all directions
  • Avoid crossing between parked cars if there is a safer place nearby (and be considerate yourself when parking)
  • Show your child how to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN

Stop, Look and Listen

Parents and carers play a vital part in teaching children how to cross the road safely. Even from a young age it’s essential to set a good example and to help your child understand why we need to stop, look and listen before stepping onto a road.

Teaching your child to cross the road safely

  1. Find the safest place to cross with a clear view all around, away from parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill if possible.  Explain to your child why it’s important to choose a place with a clear view.
  2. Holding hands with your child, show them how to stop on the kerb, look all around and listen for traffic before they cross.
  3. When there is no traffic coming, walk straight across (not diagonally) and keep looking and listening.

Safer places to cross

Pedestrian crossings such as puffins and pelicans have traffic lights and a button to press which controls a ‘green man’

Zebra crossings have two yellow beacons and striped markings across the road. Remember to wait for cars to stop in both directions.

Footbridges go over roads and subways go under roads

Traffic islands are places you can stand in between lanes in the centre of a road

How else you can help

  • Explain to your child why they need to stop, look and listen when crossing the road.
  • Talk about safer places to cross and how it’s harder to see where there are parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill.
  • Help your child to learn the names of the different crossings, such as zebras, puffins, pelicans and footbridges.

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.
  • Walk to the outside edge of the cars and stop. Here you can be seen by drivers and you can look all around for traffic.
  • Use the Green Cross Code. When the road is clear, cross, still looking and listening as you go.