Road Safety for Children

Road crashes are the biggest killer of 12-24 year-olds in the UK. The Supernanny Team and BRAKE bring you life-saving tips to teach your child about road safety. 

Safe roads, safe children

Road crashes are the biggest killer of 12-24 year-olds in the UK. In fact, there are 9 deaths and 89 serious injuries on UK roads every day, and BRAKE exists to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. With Road Safety Week from 6-12 November, the Supernanny Team brings you life-saving tips to help keep your child safe. 

Steve and Gloria’s story

In May 2004, Gloria Marshall’s two children Aaron, 20, and Katherine, 18, were killed while travelling in a car with a 19 year-old driver and two other friends. They were heading to Brighton when their car skidded, flipped over the crash barrier and hit another car coming the other way. The police investigation suggested the driver of Aaron and Katherine’s car was doing 100mph.

Gloria says: “Some young drivers come under intense peer pressure to take risks behind the wheel. But as I know all too well, the combination of inexperience and risk-taking can be devastating.”

In May 2004, Steve Mohabir, his two year-old son Marcus and two friends had been for a day out in Brighton. On their way home a car travelling the other way mounted the crash barrier and landed on their car. The car that hit them contained Gloria Marshall’s children.

Steve says: “My whole life was torn apart in May 2004. I was coming back from a day at the beach with my two-year old son and two friends. A young, speeding driver crashed into the car we were travelling in. I was the only survivor. "

I’m pleading with all young drivers – don’t be over-confident in your abilities behind the wheel and don’t be tempted to speed for fun or thrills. Do everything you can to drive safely – to make sure you don’t cause a tragedy like the one that struck us that day.

Crossing the road

Children can start to learn about road safety as soon as you begin to get out and about. Here are the Supernanny Team’s tips to keep your children safe while crossing the road.

  • Set a good example and always cross in a safe place.
  • Make sure older children know not to cross the road while playing with a toy, using a mobile phone or listening to headphones – they are likely to be distracted and may not hear potential danger.
  • In the dark, rain or fog, wear something bright or reflective so you can be seen by other road users. Younger kids won’t complain if you buy them some flashing shoes!
  • If you have young children, teach them to hold an adult’s hand near roads and when crossing, and do ‘Stop, look and listen’ every time you cross, even if you’re in a hurry.

Safe driving

You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but slower speeds save lives. If you hit a pedestrian at 35mph, they are twice as likely to be killed than if you hit them at 30mph.

  • Remember that speed limits are limits not targets, so stay well below them.
  • Stay in third gear in 30mph zones – this helps prevent your speed from creeping up. Kids will love keeping an eye on your speed if you have a habit of letting it creep up!
  • Always take care in towns and villages, especially when children are around. Slow down to 20mph around schools and residential areas.
  • On many rural roads the 60mph limit is too fast for safety. You never know what’s around the corner, so slow down for bends.
  • Ensure everyone in the car wears a seatbelt – even for short journeys, and even if you’re pregnant.
  • If you’re buying a new car, log on to Euroncap for information on the safest family cars.

Related links

  • Safety for Children: The Suzy Lamplugh Trust campaigns to increase public safety, and in the following article, the Trust outlines basic safety rules you should teach your children.

Find out more

  • Brake is the organisation behind Road Safety Week, and its website has tips and resources for parents, teachers, drivers and young people. 
  • CAPT, the Child Accident Protection Trust, produces a leaflet, ‘How safe is your child in the car?’ which contains advice on choosing the right car seat for babies, toddlers and children and includes a quick guide to the law and tips on safety around the car.
  • Traffic Club is a fantastic website for teaching pre school children about road safety.
  • RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, produces a range of leaflets for parents, including one on how to support children when they are learning to drive.
  • LARSOA’s ‘Teddy Takes a Tumble’ is a great resource for pre school children, which shows what happens when they or their teddy bear are not strapped in. 

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