Road Safety - children getting themselves to school

Moving on to Secondary School

As children move on to secondary school they expect more independence. They may be reluctant to take advice and think that road safety is for primary school children. However they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads during their secondary school years.

As a parent you will want to know that you have done everything you canto make your child’s journey to their new school as safe as possible. We hope the information and suggestions here - courtesy of Safer Roads West Yorkshire - will help you prepare them for this new stage in their school life.

Start to think about your child’s journey well before the first day of term.

Child Walking To School

Please remember

  • Only let your child travel independently when they have the skills to do so safely.
  • Do they have a list of telephone numbers in case of emergencies?
  • Keep a list of phone numbers of your child’s friends; remember to keep the list up to date!
  • Your child should have some money for emergencies, discuss with them that it is for emergencies only.
  • Talk to your child about the consequences of risk taking.

Using public transport

  • Practice getting the bus or train together – discuss safe and dangerous behaviour.
  • Remind them to leave on time with the correct pass and/or enough money.
  • Talk with your child about what they should do if they miss the bus. They should never run across the road; it is better to arrive late than get run over!
  • Discuss with them why they should never cross in front or behind a bus; they should wait for the bus to move on.

Talk to your child about...

  • How are they going to travel?
  • Who are they going to travel with?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the potential hazards?
  • Does your child have the skills to cope?
  • What if….?

Planning to walk

  • Plan and practice the safest route to school with your child – use a journey planner or google maps. Allow them to take the lead; this will help prepare them for being independent.
  • Talk with your child about the dangers of using phones, listening to music or being distracted when crossing the road.
  • Make sure your child knows how important it is to look and think for themselves especially when walking or crossing in a large group.
  • Encourage your child to leave in plenty of time. Late children take more risks.

Planning to cycle

  • Check that your child can cycle well enough for the road. If not, consider organising some cycling training.
  • Plan and cycle the route together, avoid difficult junctions and roundabouts. If they cannot be avoided your child can always get off and walk.
  • Check that your child’s bike is in good working order, especially the brakes. It may be useful to have your child’s bike checked by a qualified mechanic.
  • Make sure your child has a helmet, fluorescent and reflective clothing and a set of lights for the winter months.
  • At junctions, discuss with your child whether it is safer to stand on the corner so that they can see in all directions or move away from the junction so they have less to concentrate on.
  • Sometimes crossing between parked cars is unavoidable. Explain that they cannot be seen or see properly from the pavement. They need to move to the outer edge of the cars and then stop to check if it is safe to cross.
  • Roundabouts are best avoided as it is difficult to work out which direction the traffic is coming from
    Encourage your child to use pedestrian crossings where possible.
  • Remind them to always: STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and THINK.