Staying safe on the road

What you can do

Choose the right car seat

A child car seat is the safest way for children to travel in vehicles and it’s the law!

Babies must be carried in rearward-facing car seats for as long as possible, ideally until 15 months. You can choose to move them to a forward-facing car seat when they can sit up or are more than the maximum weight or height for the seat.

Children must continue to use a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135 cm tall. The weight and height of your child is most important thing to think about when deciding which type of seat to use.

  • Always choose a car seat that is right for your child’s height and weight
  • Try a few in your car before making a decision. Seek advice from properly trained retail staff
  • Make sure the car seat fits all the cars your child will travel in
  • Try and avoid second hand seats as they could have been damaged in an accident, may be faulty, or may not have any instructions
  • Only accept car seats from friends or family if you know the history, it’s not very old and it has the instructions
  • Make sure it is EU approved with an ‘E’ mark label
  • Remember to strap your baby into the car seat without their winter coat on. Cover them with a blanket if you are concerned about the temperature.


Talk about road safety – younger children

You can help your child to be safe and learn how to be aware of what is going on around them on the road. This will help them to build the skills they need to become independent when they are older.

Your child will learn about road safety by watching and copying you.

You can teach your child about road safety by following these hints and tips:

  • Never assume a driver will stop for you at a pedestrian crossing, wait for them to stop before crossing
  • When walking where there isn’t a pavement, walk on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic
  • Wear something bright or reflective to make yourself seen
  • Avoid walking next to the kerb with your back to the traffic
  • Look out for motorcycles and bicycles travelling between lanes of traffic
  • Make sure when crossing the road you can get to the pavement without having to walk around obstacles i.e. parked cars, road works, skips etc
  • When crossing at any pedestrian crossing keep looking both ways. Sometimes drivers go through red lights
  • When walking with children, keep them on the side of the path furthest away from the traffic
  • Be aware of the distraction caused by headphones or texting while you are walking.
  • If you are using a buggy, pram or pushchair always strap your child in, and keep it away from the edge of the road
  • Hold your child’s hand when walking outside. If your child might pull away from you, you could try safety reins or a wrist strap
  • Talk to your child about road safety from a young age. You could try using games and rhymes, such as's activities *Click Here*
  • Always follow the Green Cross Code - Stop, Look, Listen. Don’t forget the hedgehogs!


Talk about road safety – older children

Road safety worries will change as your child gets older and becomes more independent. As children get older they will be able to put into action the skills you have taught them to keep safe on the road. Your child’s risk of being injured increases as they gain independence and respond to peer pressure.

When deciding if your child is old enough to walk on their own consider:

  • How old is your child? The tricky decision about allowing your child to walk independently should not be considered until after the age of eight, research suggests that children are unable to judge the distance and speed of vehicles until they are about nine years old.
  • How far away is it?
  • Is the pavement in good condition?
  • Is there a busy road they need to cross?
  • Are there safe places to cross?
  • Are there street lights?
  • Have they got protective clothing?


When your child is independent and goes out on their own remind them to –

• Follow the Green Cross Code - Stop, Look, Listen.

Who can help?

Text Bedfordshire Parentline on 07507 331456 to talk to a health visitor about keeping your child safe on the roads.

Links and additional information

Bedford Borough Council, road safety

Brake, the road safety charity

THINK! Road safety


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