Children's Safety

How to Talk to Children About Road Safety

Published: 12th April 2024
Updated: 14th June 2024

How to Talk to Children About Road Safety

This article has been written in collaboration with Kirsty Ketley, a parenting expert, as part of the ZenAuto campaign.

Navigating the roads safely is a crucial skill for our children. In this guide, we explore essential strategies for teaching road safety for kids, with expert insights from parenting guru Kirsty Ketley. From being a positive role model to handling technology distractions, learn how to discuss road safety with your children in a way that’s both engaging and effective. Delve into practical tips that empower kids to make safer decisions every day.

  • Be a good role model: Act as a good role model by being mindful of how your own road safety can influence your child, and practice what you preach. Every walk, every car or bus journey, is an opportunity to educate your teen or pre/teen on road safety. Teens and pre-teens often find car journeys or being out on a walk, a better time to chat with their parents/carers as they don’t have to be face to face with them, which can make it easier to talk about the bigger, more important things.
  • Don’t scare them: There is no need to find footage on the internet or tell horrifying stories, to show your child the dangers that are out there – your aim is not to make them fearful, but to be honest about what could happen in certain scenarios. Never underestimate your child though. Have a discussion about what they already know, so that it is more of a two-way chat, rather than a lecture, which reinforces and builds on their knowledge. This will be more engaging for your child, so they will be more likely to listen and take in your advice.
  • Talk about different vehicles on the road and their risks: EVs are quieter than petrol or diesel vehicles and can accelerate quicker, so kids need to be aware of stopping and properly looking and listening. This is even more important now EVs are becoming more popular on the roads. Kids should also be aware drivers have blind spots which differ by vehicle, and the dangers of walking out between parked cars. In line with this, First News has launched the Look Up! campaign, which encourages young people to be more aware of their surroundings, promoting safety and mindfulness in everyday activities. Learn more about how you can participate and help spread the message by visiting First News’ Look Up! campaign page.
  • Be smart with tech: Phones are a good way of keeping in touch with your child and tracking their journey, however, they can be a huge distraction and chatting with friends or watching videos can mean that a child’s full attention is not on the road. Having boundaries around phone and headphone usage will help with this. Keeping tabs on the content they are viewing and setting up restrictions can help. Putting a screen time limit can help too, as they will likely opt to use their viewing time once they are at home, rather than out and about.
  • Peer pressure: Walking with friends is a great way to create ‘safety in numbers’, but it means kids are not always paying proper attention to the road. There can be the temptation to copy or follow their peers in crossing the road in an unsafe way. It’s important kids understand if their friends are doing something which they feel is unsafe and dangerous, they don’t copy, and are confident in making their own decisions. Making sure that you acknowledge when your child has handled a situation in the right way or made the right decision on something, will help them with their decision-making skills, and also give them a confidence boost. Using positive language can be more helpful in getting children to listen.
  • Use pedestrian crossings, but wisely:  Pedestrian crossings are the safest way to get across a busy road, so it is important kids wait for the lights to change at a pelican crossing – even if they think they can’t hear or see a vehicle coming. At a zebra crossing, they should wait for both sets of traffic on each side of the road to stop. It can be easy for children not to spot EVs if they aren’t stopping or paying full attention.

To read more helpful articles like this visit the Talking Points section of our website or sign up for First News at home and at school!

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