Child safety

Children are vulnerable as pedestrians and road users so it's important to set a good example when children are around.

Sesame Street road safety resources

Pedestrian and driveway incidents are one of the major causes of serious injury and death to young children. Sesame Street’s Elmo and Grover are part of a road safety campaign to teach children, parents and educators about the importance of simple road safety practices with the Sesame Street characters.

Illustrations of the iPad Elmo Stays Safe App

iPad app and e-book

Download the Elmo Stays Safe app on your iPad and find out how furry little monsters and children stay safe.  It’s fun way for families to learn about the importance of staying safe in and around the car, driveways, car parks, streets and roads.

Driveway safety

Any type of vehicle can be involved in a low speed run over as many popular family sedans have large blind spots.

We don't think of small children as being in danger in such a familiar environment - but they are! Small children are naturally inquisitive and they can move surprisingly quickly.

Keeping some simple ideas in mind can make a huge difference to the safety of children in your care.

Supervise, Separate, See

  • Children should be supervised at all times around driveways.
  • Ensure children are holding an adults hand or restrained in a car when near parked or moving vehicles.
  • Do not let children play around moving cars, hold them close to keep them safe.
  • Children should play in the backyard rather than the front yard.
  • Driveways should never be used as a play area.
  • There should be clear barriers (security doors, fencing or gates) between driveways and play areas to prevent children from easily accessing driveways.
  • Walk around vehicles before getting into a car if you know that children have been near vehicles.
  • Be aware that the 'blind space' behind your car can be more than 15 metres.
  • Parking sensors and reversing cameras can greatly improve reversing visibility, but should not replace active supervision. Children can be impossible to see if they are behind a vehicle.

Driveways are dangerous 

  • Don’t rely on parking sensors or a reversing camera, you may not notice a small child until it is too late to stop.
  • Check the rear-view mirror, look over your shoulder before reversing and always supervise children who are near a moving vehicle
  • Driveways should be treated with the same caution as roads, the same dangers are present.
  • Take particular care for your child's safety, especially when cars are pulling in and out.

Latest reversing visibility ratings

Children and traffic

Children face extra challenges around traffic. They rely on you to learn how to act safely around roads and they also need to deal with being smaller and having less developed cognitive skills. Research shows that children under 12 years of age have not developed the skills and experience to be safe in traffic. Children have difficulty:

  • judging speed and distance
  • seeing objects in side vision
  • identifying the direction of traffic.

Children are the same height as cars

Children are small and about the same size as bushes or parked cars, which means they can't see over them or be easily seen by drivers.

Lack of concentration

Children tend to focus well on one thing at a time, often ignoring everything else going on around them.

May dart into traffic

Since children are always on the move, they may not stop at the kerb.

May panic if conditions change

Children won't always use safe behaviour consistently and a sudden change in traffic conditions can make them confused.

Have difficulty judging speed and distance

Children have difficulty working out a safe gap in the traffic and may let a slow car pass first but walk out in front of a fast moving one.

Won't notice objects in their side vision

Children tend to notice only those things directly in front of them. Unless they physically turn their head, they may not see cars approaching from the left or right.

Have difficulty working out direction of sounds

A child's hearing is not as well developed as that of an adult and they may have difficulty working out the direction of traffic sounds.

Walking with children

Children are learning every moment of their lives. Most of a child's learning is done through experience. Because of this it is best to teach children about road safety on a frequent and regular basis during everyday life.

Be a good role model

  • Parents have an important role to play in preventing or reducing the risky road user behaviours of their children. This can be achieved by simply setting a good example and modelling positive road safety behaviours when their children are around.
  • Talk through why it may or may not be a good idea to cross the road with your child. Discussing whether it's safe to cross when a green walk signal is showing at traffic lights may be a good starting point.
  • Modelling and discussing positive road safety behaviour does not stop with children being pedestrians. Research has also found positive relationships between parents driving styles and their children future driving styles. Think about how you are driving when your children are in the car.

Show them how to cross the road safely

  • Consciously stop at the kerb and not on the road.
  • Look in all directions for approaching traffic.
  • Listen for anything coming.
  • Think about whether or not it is safe to cross the road.

Walk on the footpath not the road

  • The safest place to walk is on the footpath facing oncoming traffic.
  • Facing oncoming traffic ensures that you can be seen, particularly where there is no footpath.

Cross the road at marked crossings

  • Where possible cross the road at a marked crossing and warn children not to cross between parked cars because their low height means they can't be seen or see oncoming traffic easily.

Hold your child's hand when walking near traffic

  • Always hold your child's hand when walking near traffic - on the street, in car parks or anywhere they may be at risk.

Travelling in cars with children

Make travel fun and comfortable for your children. Protect them in and out of the car and always make sure they wear their restraints.

Make travel fun and relaxing:

  • Take plenty of rest stops when driving for a long time. Stop at a park or playground so children can run and play safely. Have healthy snacks and drinks with you.
  • Talk or sing with children, or play a music or story CD or tape to help the time pass more quickly.
  • Choose comfortable clothing for a child to travel in, and make sure it is suitable for the temperature inside the car.

Protect your children in and out of the car:

  • Never leave children in a car without adult supervision.
  • Remove or secure any loose items inside the car because these will be thrown around in a crash and can cause serious injury. Provide only soft toys to play with while travelling. Cargo barriers in station wagons, hatchbacks and vans are essential.
  • Always use the Safety Door when getting children in an out of the car. This is the rear kerbside (left) door, and is away from traffic when parallel parked.
  • Use child locks on back doors if these are fitted.
  • Always get the least mobile child out of the car first - then your attention can be focused on the child more likely to dart out into traffic.

Make sure children wear their restraint:

  • Set a good example for children and always wear your own seat belt when travelling in the car.

  • Explain to children that you can't go anywhere unless the seat belts are all buckled and reward them when their behaviour is good in the car.
  • If a child takes their arms out of the straps of the car seat, check that the straps are adjusted firmly enough and set above the shoulder. If this problem persists then be prepared to stop the car, and put their arms back in. Stress that they must keep arms inside the straps. Safety must come first - do not allow any exceptions.

Be a good role model in the car

  • Research has found positive relationships between parents driving styles and their children’s future driving styles.
  • Try to display non-risky, patient, and non-aggressive driving styles when your children are passengers. This will help them develop good driving behaviours when they are older.