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 travelling in a car, bus or train. It's not just about telling them what to do – children learn from what adults do, so you need to model safe behaviour.

Schools can also teach about road safety. You can browse a variety of resources for all school ages on link)

Walking smart

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

When you're walking and crossing the road follow these tips on how to stay safe when walking.

You can also find more information in our guide: Hike it, bike it, scoot it, skate it

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 project includes national curriculum content provided online for teachers covering:

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

 Feet First teacher resources on our Education Portal(external link) 

Bike safety

Teach your children good habits by biking with them.

  • Under 10s should always bike with an adult.
  • Your child must wear an approved cycle helmet.
  • Make sure bikes have working brakes.
  • Make sure bikes have reflectors and lights if cycling at night or in poor visibility conditions.
  • Wearing a high visibility vest or jacket is a good idea.
  • Remember, your children will copy the way they see you riding your bike.
  • Think about enrolling your child on a cyclist skills training course, which can help them build their cycling confidence and skills.

Approved cycle helmets
Cycling confidence and skills training(external link)

BikeReady is New Zealand's national cycling education system, delivered through schools by people in your area. link)

Bus safety tips for your children

Check these tips on teaching your children how to board, travel on and leave buses safely.

And follow this advice when picking up or dropping off children at the bus stop.

Car safety for your children

In the car, it's important for children to have the appropriate child restraint that is fastened correctly in the vehicle. 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:

Features that protect you
Using child restraints in New Zealand
Seat belts

When picking up or dropping off your children

  • Ensure 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.

Safety for children around roads and driveways

Remember, 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 traffic, including driveways.

Talk to your child about what to do if a ball, toy, pet or other item goes on to the road while they are playing:

  • They need to ask an adult to get the ball or object that goes onto the road.
  • If this is not possible:
    • wait for the ball to stop
    • walk along the footpath until 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)