Centre for Road Safety

Children are among the most vulnerable pedestrians

Young at risk

Children are impulsive and have little or no sense of danger. Boys are twice as likely to be involved in child pedestrian casualties as girls. Boys aged 13 years have the highest rate of child pedestrian casualties.

  • Are small and fast
  • Are impulsive, easily distracted and little or no sense of danger
  • Find it hard to judge the direction of sounds, the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles and the gaps between them
  • Are still learning to identify safe crossing places and anticipate driver behaviour

Ways to improve your child's safety

  • Children up to eight years old should hold an adult's hand on the footpath, in the car park or when crossing the road.
  • Children up to 10 should be supervised around traffic and should hold an adult's hand when crossing the road.
  • When walking with your children, talk to them about  about safe crossing procedures and traffic safety regulations
  • Set a good example. Parents and carers are the best road safety teachers.
  • Teach your children to be aware of the traffic environment: distractions such as wearing headphones or playing with friends on the way to or from school can make them more vulnerable to danger.
  • Make sure your driving and parking are not endangering your own or others' children. Obey all parking signs and speed limits, and always be on the lookout for the unexpected. Many traffic safety issues around schools arise from the poor driving and parking behaviour of parents.
  • Never call your child across the road.

Positive action

The School Crossing Supervisor scheme provides supervisors  at existing pedestrian (zebra) crossings and children's crossings to facilitate the safe crossing of unaccompanied primary and infant schoolchildren.

School zones on sections of roads outside schools have a lower speed limit of 40 km/h at designated times. The zones reduce speed in school areas at times when children are entering or leaving the school grounds. Another program to improve the safety of schoolchildren is the 40km/h school bus speed limit initiative. It has involved:

  • A prominent warning system of static signs and flashing lights on the 7700 Government and private buses used to transport schoolchildren.
  • A requirement for traffic to slow to 40 km/h when overtaking a bus which has its wig-wag lights flashing.
  • Bus headlights that flash to warn oncoming motorists when school children are being picked up or set down at bus stops.

Early childhood road safety education

Kids and Traffic provides information and resources to early childhood educators, families and other carers of young children. Road safety education resources and consultancy assistance are provided free to all licensed children's services in NSW, including preschools, long day care and family day care. Information is also available online to help reduce fatalities from children being run over in home driveways.

School road safety education

The NSW road safety education program addresses pedestrian safety issues for children from kindergarten to year 12 in all NSW schools with a range of resources for principals, teachers and educators. Teachers deliver the Centre for Road Safety program as part of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum in years K–12. Resources include strategies for communicating road safety information with parents, carers and the school community.