Accidents and injuries - Keeping your child safe 'out and about'

  • When transporting a baby by car, always use a correctly fitted, age appropriate rear facing car seat.
  • Never put a rear facing car seat in the front seat with an active air bag.
  • Move the baby to a front facing car seat only when they outgrow their rear facing seat (by exceeding the weight limit or becoming too tall). Try to keep them in a rear facing seat for as long as possible. The law requires that all children under 135 cm tall or the age 12 (whichever comes first) use an appropriate car seat or restraint when travelling by car.
  • Do not leave babies or toddlers unattended in cars.
  • Strap your baby securely into their car seat or buggy at all times – take care to ensure they are properly strapped in when wearing bulky clothing.
  • Keep toddlers away from the buggy when it is being folded to avoid trapped fingers.

For more information you can watch this video on child road safety.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust website has some really helpful pages on a lot of different accidents and situations outside the home.

Road accidents account for a third of accidental deaths among 0-14 year olds and over half of accidental deaths for 5-14 year olds. In 2011, 2,412 children under the age of 16 were killed or seriously injured on the roads. Don’t take the risk - teach your children about road safety - visit the government website.

0-4’s Talking about traffic with your child when you’re out and about is one of the best ways for him or her to learn:

  • Play ‘spotting’ games: where’s a lorry? Can you find a bus? Let’s see who can spot a taxi first.
  • Ask your child to tell you about the vehicles waiting at the traffic lights or passing you in the car.
  • Talk about vehicles you see: which is biggest or fastest? What colours are they? Which carries the most people? Which way is it going? Do some counting.
  • Building up your child’s language will help him or her to understand traffic: use words to describe speed, size, shape, directions or talk about signs, lights, signals and road markings.
  • Talk about how we can tell when traffic is near or when it is coming towards us, asking your child when cars are safe and when they can be dangerous
  • Use a harness or wrist strap when toddlers are walking near to roads and walk with the adult kerb-side
  • The Children’s Traffic Club

Over 5’s - Teach them the Green Cross Code

The biggest concern of adults when it comes to children walking and cycling to school is traffic danger.

Once your child is confident on their bike, getting them used to cycling on the roads will develop them in many ways. Not only will they gain a sense of freedom and independence, they’ll also improve their confidence and fitness.

How to teach road safety to your children.

Follow these basics to help you and your child stay safe when cycling:

  • make sure your child's bike fits and that all your bikes are roadworthy;
  • if you're on the road with children, take up a position behind them. If there are two adults in your group, it's a good idea to have one at the back and one in front of the children;
  • wear a helmet
  • set a good example, follow the Highway Code and teach children road safety and awareness.

To find out about courses that help your child gain the confidence to cycle to school, phone the National Cycle Training Helpline on 0844 736 8460/8461. Or find out if your child's school offers Bikeability or Bike It - if your school doesn't have either, pester them!

For more information on cycling for children please visit the Sustrans website

Twelve children under 10 are killed or injured as passengers in cars every day. Car seats prevent deaths and serious injury.

Did you know…?

  • Adult seat belts are not designed for children as they don't sit across the right parts of the body. If a child isn't in the right booster or car seat, they can be injured by the seat belt in a crash.
  • The law says that children under 3 are not allowed to travel anywhere in a car without an appropriate child restraint – usually a baby or child car seat. This is also very good safety advice.
  • Trying to hold a small baby in a car crash at 30mph would be like trying to lift 8 bags of cement at the same time.
  • All children under 12 years old who are under 135cm in height have to use a child restraint. It’s the law.

For further information on how to keep your children safe in the car visit the AA website​​​​​​​

Page last updated on: 27th March 2023