What Can You Do?

Teaching your child the rules of the road

Teach your child to:


These crossings are not controlled by traffic lights so children should be taught to concentrate and keep looking for cars while they use the crossing.


  • School Crossing Patrols.



Always use the school crossing patrol where one is available. If there is a school crossing patrol person ensure that your child knows the signals they use.

The lollipop song: 

Safety outside school

Yellow zigzag lines

Parking outside schools on yellow zigzags is a major concern to the safety of our children. Many parents park outside the school to collect their children which means that the streets near the school are very busy and congested. To help ensure the safety of our children the law states that

  • You cannot stop on yellow zigzag lines as this will cause an obstruction.
  • You can be issued an on the spot fine.
  • Zigzag markings provide a clear space for children to cross where they can see traffic and traffic can see them.



Parking on zigzags forces children to cross between parked cars. This is one of the biggest causes of child casualties on the roads.

Transporting your child

Using the right child seat

When choosing a child restraint (seat) for your child it is important that you purchase the right one. Throughout this section there has been reference to using the ‘correct’ or ‘appropriate’ child seat. Whether the child seat you have is correct or not will depend on the age and weight of your child and the type of car(s) in which it will be used. 

Child restraints must be suitable for the child. Child restraints/seats are designed for specific weight ranges of children. Although these weight ranges broadly match different age groups, it is the weight that is most important.



Babies must be carried in rearward-facing baby seats. These are for babies up to 13kg (29lb) in weight. Rearward-facing baby seats protect the head, neck and spine far more than forward-facing child seats. For this reason, a child should only be put in a forward facing child seat once they have exceeded the maximum weight for the baby seat and can sit up unaided or the top of their head is higher than the top of the baby seat.

It is illegal and highly dangerous to have a rearward-facing baby seat in the front seat if there is an active frontal passenger airbag. Activation of the airbag would hit the baby seat with such force that the baby could suffocate or even be crushed. Always fit your child’s baby seat in the back seat.


Young children

Children weighing 9-18kg (20-40lb) should travel in forward-facing child seats. This type of seat has a 5-point harness which should have a ‘crotch strap’ to stop a child sliding out feet first while travelling or in an accident. 

Always check the harness every time you use the child seat.  You should only be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your child’s chest and the harness should be at shoulder height.


Older children

Children who weigh 15kg (33lbs) to either 25kg (55lbs) or 36kg (79lbs) should travel in booster seats or on booster cushions. These are designed to raise children so that adult seat belts fit them correctly. Some also have side impact protection. When placing the adult seat belt around the child and the seat it is important that the lap belt goes under the arms of the seat and low over the child’s pelvis, not high over their abdomen (tummy). The shoulder strap must sit over the shoulder, not the child’s neck.


Children aged twelve and above or over 135cms tall

Although it is better for children to remain in a booster seat or cushion until they are 150cms tall, children 12 years and over or over 135cms tall can travel using only a seat belt.


Child restraints must be suitable for the vehicle

Always try out a child seat in your car before purchasing it. Each type of child seat has a different shape and size, as do the seats in cars. Seat belts positions also vary between cars.  An unsuitable seat in the wrong car will mean that the seat will not provide the necessary protection, putting your child at risk


Fitting the seat securely

Fit your child seat properly and securely in the car(s) in which it will be used.  A seat that is not fitted correctly will not provide the protection needed and may even cause an injury. When you fit our child’s seat, make sure that you fit it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and check that it is not fitted too loose - make sure the seat does not move about when pulled by hand. It is also very important to make sure that child car seats are in a safe condition.


Replacing seats

Replace car seats that have suffered a lot of wear and tear. Most manufacturers recommend replacing a seat after 5 years.

A car seat or seat belt that were in a vehicle involved in a crash must be replaced as they would be unlikely to provide the protection needed in a second crash due to damage. 


Second hand child seats

It is best not to use second hand child seats as it is not always possible to be certain of its history. It may have hidden damage from a previous crash. Second hand seats are also likely to be older, to have suffered more wear and tear and may not conform to the current safety standards.


Choosing the right child seat

This may seem like a daunting task. However, there is help at hand! Good retailers will have trained staff who can check whether a child seat is suitable for the car or cars in which it will be used and show you how to fit the seat correctly.

Many local Road Safety Units have an advice, checking and fitting service if you feel as though you need more help. You can also use www.childcarseats.org.uk for further advice and information.



Children out and about alone

One of the most helpful things you can do is to prepare your child for when they are out and about alone. When you allow your child or young person to travel with friends or alone you must first make sure they know how to keep safe.

It is important that you:

  • Make sure that your child is ready to be out alone. Remember the limits of their age and maturity.
  • Make sure they know how to make their entire journey safely e.g. that they know how to cross a road safely to the bus stop and how to behave on the bus.
  • Talk to them about their personal safety. They should know how to protect their belongings from theft, what to do if they are lost or being bullied and never to talk to strangers.


For more information and advice about personal safety please visit the Personal Safety section on this site.

  • Discuss with them what they should do if their plans for returning home change e.g. they need to stay late at school.
  • If your child has a mobile phone, always make sure they have credit and the numbers they need to contact you or someone else they trust, if needed. 
  • Avoid letting them travel in the dark or at night.


NSPCC’s guide ‘Out Alone’ provides advice and practical tips for parents on how to prepare children for being on their own. Download a copy of this guide HERE.

Also you will find information and advice on travelling in all modes of transport on these web pages.