Child safety

Get advice on everything from child restraints to teaching your little one how to cross the road.

Woman holding child's hand while watching a black car reverse out of a driveway.

You might not think small children are in danger in such familiar environments, but they are. On average, seven children aged under 15 are killed each year and 60 are seriously injured due to being hit by a vehicle around the home in Australia.1

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.

Remember to Supervise, Separate and See

  • Children should always be supervised around driveways.
  • Ensure children are holding an adult’s hand or bucked up in a car when near parked or moving vehicles.
  • Don’t 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 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 shouldn’t replace active supervision. Children can be impossible to see if they’re behind a vehicle.

Department of Infrastructure, R. D. (2018, March 26). Driveway Safety: Are Your Kids at Risk?

Pedestrian crossing near a shopping strip

Research shows that children under 12 years of age haven’t developed the skills and experience needed to be safe in traffic.

Children have difficulty:

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

Children are also at risk because:

  • their size makes them hard to see.
  • they are curious and impulsive, so can run into danger without realising.
  • they don’t notice objects in their side vision unless they turn their head.
  • they have difficulty working out the direction of sounds because their hearing is not as developed.

It’s up to adults to set a good example, supervise and help children work out what to look out for and how to cross the road safely.

  •  Model positive road safety behaviours when children are around, such as not jaywalking. Make sure you use a dedicated crossing whenever possible.
  • Talk through why it may or may not be a good idea to cross the road with your child; start with talking about traffic signals, such as what the green light means.

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

Make travel fun, safe and comfortable for children. Protect them in and out of the car and always make sure young children are buckled in their car seat properly.

  • 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, listen to music or an audio story to help the time pass.
  • Choose comfortable clothing for kids to travel in, and make sure it’s right for the temperature inside the car.
  • Never leave your child in a car alone.
  • Remove or secure any loose items inside the car because these will be thrown around in a crash and can cause serious injury. Cargo barriers in station wagons, hatchbacks and vans are essential.
  • Provide only soft toys to play with while travelling.
  • Always use the Safety Door when getting children in and 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.
  • Set a good example for children and always wear your own seatbelt when travelling in the car.
  • Explain to children that you can't go anywhere unless the seatbelts 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.

Find out more about Child Safety Restraints

  • 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.