Road safety for kids: The ABC of keeping your kids safe

It’s important for parents to teach road safety for kids from an early age. Whether your children are inside a car or crossing the road, they need to know how to keep safe.

Kids Around Cars

Always hold hands crossing the road: It’s as easy holding hands to keep your children safe when you cross the road together. A simple act can mean all the difference to make sure your children stay by your side and don’t run ahead.

Teach them the safe way to cross a road:

Road safety for kids is as easy as showing them:

  • safe places to cross including school crossings, pedestrian crossings and at traffic lights
  • how to check that the road is safe to cross by looking and listening for traffic
  • how to cross the road safely by waiting until it is safe and checking as you cross.

Play safe: Don’t allow your children to play on footpaths and driveways. Always make sure that your children play away from the danger of cars and other traffic.

Driveway safety: We hear too many stories about children being run over in their own driveways. Here are some driveway safety tips to help keep your children safe:

Check for Children: Before you start your car, it only takes a few moments to check around and under your car to make sure that no child is at risk.
Supervision: Always supervise children around cars – be sure to hold their hands and keep them close to you at all times.

Limit Access: Keep children away from your driveway and cars – encourage play in other areas of your house, away from the risk.
Use Barriers: Use barriers like child-proof doors, fences and gates to keep children safely away from your driveway.

Never leave your children unsupervised in cars

Road safety for kids doesn’t just end when you’ve parked your car. It’s really important to always supervise your children in cars and never leave them unattended. It’s just too risky to leave your children in a car alone even for a minute. Some of the risks include:

Heat exposure: It doesn’t take too long for the inside of a car to reach dangerously high temperatures.

Tampering with the Brake and other controls: Another risk, especially for older children is that they can touch the car’s controls.

Other People: Lastly, there are car thieves and other criminals to worry about.

Get age-appropriate child restraints

Always be sure that you have child restraints that are appropriate to the age and size of your child:

Children less than 6 months old: Your child must be safely fastened in an approved rearward-facing child restraint.

Children 6 months old to 4 years old: Your child must be safely fastened in an approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness – it can either be rear facing or forward facing. Note that children under 4 years old are not allowed to travel in the front seat of vehicles with two or more rows.

Children 4 years old to 7 years old: Your child must be secured in a forward-facing approved child restraint with an inbuilt harness, or an approved booster seat. Note that children aged 4-7 years old are not allowed to travel in the front seat of your car unless all the back seats are taken by children less than 7 years old.

Children 7 years to 16 years old: Children aged 7-16 years old may use a properly adjusted seatbelt. However, if they are too small then they must use an approved booster seat. The NSW government recommends that children over the age of 7 years old must be at least 145cm tall before they use a normal seatbelt.

If you have trouble fitting or adjusting your child car seat, you can visit an Authorised Restraint Fitting Station.

Click, clack front and back: Teach your children the importance of wearing a seatbelt from an early age. You can find more information on selecting the right child restraints for your children here.

Kids on Road Trips

Here are some tips for making long road trips happier for all the family:

  • Exit and entry into cars should happen in the left rear door – close to the kerb and away from the traffic
  • Take drinking water in kid-friendly bottles so that your children can stay hydrated
  • The back seat is the safest place for children to travel
  • Have safe activities for your children to do: books, stickers, soft toys
  • Keep your kids entertained with games like “I spy” and songs like “The Wheels on the Bus”
  • Take regular breaks for everyone to stretch their legs in safe rest areas.

These are just a few tips to keep your kids safe on the road. For more information on road safety for kids, see the section on children at NSW government’s Centre for Road Safety website.

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