How to teach children road safety rules

Updated May 10, 2017

Each year, children are injured and killed by cars. Kids can be hit by cars when crossing the street, while playing in the road or when riding bicycles. Make sure that your children are as safe as possible by showing them ways to avoid dangers on the streets.

Start teaching children road safety rules when they are toddlers. Instruct them to never go into the street alone. Hold their hands and tell them that you are looking both ways before crossing. Remind them to stay on the sidewalk when you take a walk.

Encourage your preschoolers to look both ways before crossing the street. Teach them to look left first, then right, then left again. Have them help you to decide when it is safe to cross. When you feel that your child is ready, have him show you how he can cross a quiet residential street. Stand on one side and look both ways with your child. Send him across, then have him look both ways before returning to you.

Tell young children to cross only when the sign says "walk" on busy roads and to stay in the crosswalk. Have a child press the button on the traffic signal, and explain what the symbols mean. A white figure means that it is safe to cross, and a blinking or solid orange hand means that it is not safe to begin crossing the street.

Teach elementary school-aged children to ride their bikes on the right side of the road and to walk on the left side of the road. Bicycles move with traffic, and pedestrians move against traffic. Ask your child what she would do in certain situations, such as when her ball rolls into the road or a car suddenly swerves ahead of her.

Point out driving safety rules to your older children. Explain when you are turning right on a red light, for example, if this is legal in your state. Tell them when you are changing lanes, and why. Show them by example what to do when you miss a turn or if your cell phone rings when you are driving. Set a good example now to help them learn safety rules before it is time for them to begin driving.


Making up a song about the rules of the road can help children remember them. Model safety. Your children are watching.


Do not let a child cross the street unattended until you are sure that he knows when it is safe to do so. Remind kids that even if the traffic signal says "walk," they still must watch for traffic.

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About the Author

Michelle Kulas worked in the health-care field for 10 years, serving as a certified nurses' assistant, dental assistant and dental insurance billing coordinator. Her areas of expertise include health and dental topics, parenting, nutrition, homeschooling and travel.