Road safety tips to teach your children

This section explains the key things you need to teach your children about staying safe when crossing the road, walking, biking, taking the bus and even playing around home.

Being road smart doesn't necessarily come naturally. You need to teach your children how to be safe pedestrians and how to be safe passengers whether they’re travelling in a car, bus or train. Some research shows that children under the age of nine years can’t judge speed and distances. It's not just about telling them what to do; children learn from what adults do so you need to model safe behaviour too.

Schools can also teach road safety. Browse our resources for all school ages on the Education Potal

Education Portal(external link)

Walking smart

An important part of teaching your children road safety is to model safe behaviour yourself and talk to your children about what you’re doing and why.

Tips on how to stay safe when walking

Road safety advice for families(external link)

Our point of view videos demonstrate how to navigate roads when pavements aren’t available.

Walking to school videos(external link)

Feet First – resources for teachers who are supporting walking initiatives in their schools

Working alongside initiatives such as walking school buses and school travel plans, the Feet First teacher resources include online national curriculum content for teachers that cover:

  • safety
  • exploring
  • creativity
  • caring for your community and your environment.

 Feet First teacher resources(external link)

There are also resources on:

Bike safety

Teach your children good habits by biking with them.

  • Children under 10 years should always bike with an adult.
  • Your children must wear an approved cycle helmet.
  • Make sure your bikes have working brakes.
  • Make sure your bikes have reflectors and lights if cycling at night or in poor visibility conditions.
  • Wear a high visibility vest or jacket to be seen.
  • Remember, your children will copy the way they see you riding your bike.
  • Help build your children’s cycling confidence and skills by:
    • enrolling them in a cyclist skills training course, or
    • encouraging their school to contact their local BikeReady provider.

Approved cycle helmets

Code for cycling

BikeReady is New Zealand's national cycling education system. Find out how to access cycle skills training and curriculum-based learning with bike riding as the context on the BikeReady website.

BikeReady website(external link)

Scooter safety

These presentations can help young people and their families learn how to travel safely by scooter and skateboard.

Scooter safety tips(external link)

Skateboard safety tips(external link)

Bus safety

Teach your children how to board, travel on and leave buses safely using these tips. There’s also advice on how to safely pick up or drop off children at the bus stop.

Bus safety tips

School bus safety resources for schools(external link)

Car safety

It's important for children to have the appropriate child restraint fastened correctly in the car. Make sure:

  • children sit in the back seat
  • children use a child restraint or booster seat that fits them
  • everyone is wearing their seat belts and that restraints are fitted correctly
  • that you drive to the conditions. 

Learn about other vehicle safety features that can protect you and your passengers in a crash:

When picking up or dropping off your children

  • Ensure your children get in and out on the footpath side of the car.
  • Park safely, away from yellow lines, intersections and driveways.
  • Drive slowly outside schools and be prepared for surprises.
  • Never double park outside a school.
  • Walk to the school gate with your children in the mornings.
  • After school, walk to the school gate to meet your children and walk them to the car.
  • Take extra care on wet days.

Being safe around roads and driveways

Your children need to be road smart around your home too. They should only play outdoors in areas that are well fenced and away from any traffic, including driveways.

Talk to your children about what to do if a ball, toy, pet or other item goes on to the road while they’re playing. Firstly, they need to ask an adult to get the ball or object that goes onto the road.

If this isn’t possible, they need to:

  • wait for the ball to stop
  • walk along the footpath until they’re directly opposite the ball
  • use the kerb drill to cross to the opposite footpath
  • pick up the ball and then use the kerb drill to return.

Kerb drill when you're crossing the road(external link)