Think! Education

Teaching your child to cross the road safely

Safer places to cross

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

image of a puffin crossing

Zebra crossings have two yellow beacons and striped markings across the road. Remember to wait for cars to stop in both directions. If there is an island in the middle, treat each half of the road as a separate crossing.

image of a zebra crossing

Footbridges go over roads and subways go under roads.

image of a subway crossing

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

image of a island crossing

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.

Follow these steps with your child every time you cross the road.

  1. Find the safest place to cross with a clear view of all around, away from parked cars, junctions, bends or the brow of a hill if possible. Talk about safest places to cross and how it's harder to see where there are parked cars, junctions, bends or near the brow of a hill. Explain that drivers and riders won't be able to see you either.
  2. Holding hands with your child, show them how to stop on the kerb, look all around and listen for traffic before they cross. First explain that they must stop at the kerb and not step into the road as traffic might be coming very fast. Then they must look all around because traffic could come from any direction and they should listen because sometimes you can hear traffic before you see it.
  3. When it is safe, walk straight across (not diagonally) and keep looking and listening. Tell your child they must do this in case there is any traffic they did not see, or in case traffic appears suddenly.

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.