Keeping children safe near the road, in the car and on a bike.

Here’s a great blog post about road safety for children. It’s been written with many thanks to Credit Plus – a leading car finance provider with a commitment to ethical lending based in Dorset.

Keeping children safe near the road, in the car and on a bike

– 25% of cycling accidents involve children, with those aged 10 to 15 most at risk.
– Child car seats are not only a legal requirement but can drastically improve safety
– Fortunately, most accidents can be prevented if drivers, passengers and pedestrians follow certain safety rules

The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) organise the annual Child Safety Week each June. The aim is to raise awareness of the risks children could be presented with and offer advice for preventing them.


One of the largest topics is road safety, encompassing child pedestrians. Children under the age of eight have difficulty judging speed and distance, which can make crossing the road incredibly dangerous. Older children can also be in danger as they begin travelling to and from school without
adult supervision.

Inside the SafeWise Learning Villages in Bournemouth and Weymouth, a pelican crossing is designed to educate students on pedestrian safety and explains the process of green lights, checking vehicles have completely stopped and only crossing at designated places.

In-car safety

Inside the vehicle, child car seats are legally required for all children under 135cm or under the age of 12. The standard fitting for car seats is called ISOFIX, and this ensures that it’s firmly in place. Children under 15 months must be fitted in a rear-facing car seat and are able to use a forward-facing seat from 15 months onwards.  After their 12th birthday, children can use ordinary car seats but it should be reinforced that seatbelts are compulsory. Britain is one of the safest places to drive in Europe, however there were still 787 driver or passenger deaths in 2017, and 27% of those were not wearing seatbelts. Statistics have shown that wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of injury by 50%.

At age 17, you’re able to get a provisional driving licence meaning you can have driving lessons and take your test. Once you’re on the road with a full driving license, there are dozens of associated risks but it’s important to note that digital distractions are increasingly becoming the reason for accidents.

Young drivers should keep their mobile out-of-reach whilst driving so there is little temptation to change music, read a text or take a call.

Young cyclists

After cars and pedestrians, there is a third group of road users: cyclists. Children begin cycling around age three or four, with most becoming proficient by age five. There is a grey-area when it comes to cycling on a pavement. It is illegal for any bicycle to be rode on the pavement, unless it’s a designated cycle path, however children under the age of 10 are below the age of criminal responsibility and therefore cannot be arrested, fined or cautioned. However, it’s important to educate children on using the road safely when cycling and encourage them to always wear a helmet. The helmet should be properly fitted and secured, not left loose. The size of the bike should be appropriate for the child’s height as this can cause issues with pedalling and crucially, braking. In addition to the bike, there are several rules of the road cyclist should adhere to, including hand signals and following the direction of traffic. As part of the SafeWise Learning Village, a cycling scenario explains the dangers of cycling and students are encouraged to Discuss, Decide and Do various questions such as wearing a helmet or crossing the street.

How to keep children safe

Parents who visit SafeWise can make use of a Junior Safety Inspector family tours, where families develop life skills by following a self-guided tour. There are a few important rules to teach children when they’re a pedestrian including making sure they’re aware of the Green Cross Code, ideally from age five. The Green Cross Code was created by the National Road Safety Committee as a short step-by-step procedure for crossing streets safely. The most up-to-date version is:

1. THINK! First find the safest place to cross
2. STOP! Stand on the pavement near the kerb
3. USE YOUR EYES AND EARS! Look all around for traffic and listen
4. WAIT UNTIL IT IS SAFE TO CROSS! If traffic is coming, let it pass
5. LOOK AND LISTEN! When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run
6. ARRIVE ALIVE! Keep looking and listening

It’s also important to set a good example when around children by not rushing across the road and reminding them not to text or talk on mobiles, or listen to music, when crossing the road.

Get involved

Has your school booked yet? 

Join a family tour this summer

Be a SafeWise volunteer to save and change lives