I have borrowed the copy below from the UK Charity BRAKE and amended where I have wanted to adjust for for our local situation.
What to teach
You aim to cover the road safety ABC below, adapted for the age group you’re working with, as set out below:
- A is for awareness (traffic is dangerous and can hurt people)
- B is for behaviour (things you should do to stay safer)
- C is for choice (how to make safer choices and to help others make these choices too)
Under 8’s can be taught A and B from the age of two upwards. They can be taught rules and encouraged to follow them through practical training. However, under 8’s should not use roads without an adult, and adults should follow the Crossing Code (see below) at all times when on foot with their children. Adults should, at all times, hold children’s hands or use reins with younger children because under 8’s can:
- have difficulty judging speed and distance;
- are easily distracted and act on impulse;
- have difficulty understanding danger and death and are oriented around play;
- are small (so can’t see hazards) and are still developing eyesight and hearing;
- are carefree, not careless;
- should not be allowed to walk near roads on their own for these reasons.
- Over 8’s will have more ability to understand C, and make their own choices based on different options and assessment of risk. However, they need to have A and B re-emphasised to them because over 8’s
- may walk on their own but make mistakes that can cost their lives because of lack of experience;
- are vulnerable to peer pressure from other children to make risky choices, such as running across a road.
A is for awareness: traffic is dangerous and hurts people
You can teach, with increasing frankness as children get older, that:
- Traffic hurts millions of people every year across the world, and someone dies every 30 seconds globally in road crashes.
- People hurt by traffic are often killed and seriously injured. Injuries include paralysis and losing limbs. (Note: many children may think minor injuries such as breaking an arm are okay – you may need to make clear how awful a serious injury is.)
- Some people do dangerous things when walking or cycling, such as texting on their phone while crossing a road, or not wearing a cycle helmet. These people are more likely to be killed or hurt.
- Some drivers do dangerous things, which increase the chance of them killing or hurting themselves or someone else, for example, speeding, or using a phone at the wheel, or driving after drinking alcohol.
- We have laws such as speed limits to stop people being killed or hurt in crashes, but some drivers break them.
B is for behaviour: rules you can follow to stay safe. Children need to be taught the language of road safety before they can understand the rules. For example, names of vehicles, names of street furniture such as pavements and kerbs, and an understanding of fast, slow, looking, listening and crossing. A well-educated child age five may already have a grasp of fundamental road safety rules thanks to their parents. But others may not. Therefore, you should begin with younger children by checking they all understand the following:
- Paths/pavements are for people; roads are for traffic.
- Never go out near roads without a grown up. Hold their hand and don’t let go.
- Stop at once if you are told. Never try to cross a road until you are told.
- Never run into the road or play on roads – play in a park, field or garden.
- You can help grown ups look and listen for traffic to cross safely.
- Traffic lights (robots) and other crossings help people cross the road. When a red man appears, it means you must stop.
- You can wear bright clothes to be seen by traffic.
If you ride in a car, never undo your belt and don’t play with door handles or try to get out or distract the driver.
By the age of five, children are ready to learn, in addition to the above:
- The Crossing Code (find a safe place to cross, stop, look, listen, cross with care, looking and listening all the time)
- The safest places to cross: underpasses; footbridges; where there is a crossing-patrol person; traffic light (robot) crossings; zebra crossings.
- The importance of wearing the right gear when walking and cycling.
- Fluorescent and reflective materials help drivers see you, and helmets protect your head.
- In a car, only get out on the pavement side.
- In a bus or coach or minibus, wear your seat belt if one is fitted.
- When getting off, never cross the road in front or behind the bus. Wait until it has pulled away so you can see in all directions.
By the age of 9 and upwards, depending on development, children are ready to explore:
- Bereavement issues and the social impact of road crashes.
- The responsibilities of drivers to protect other people, especially people who are on foot or bicycle.
- The dangers of giving in to peer pressure to take risks.
C is for choice: how to make the safest choices and help others stay safe too
Under-8’s are ill-equipped to make their own choices. However, it is important that older children recognise their ability to make safe choices, recognise pressures they may come under to make dangerous choices and learn how to resist those pressures, and how to speak up for the safety of others too.
Younger children can also be encouraged to think about choices, as long as they are not encouraged to make those choices on their own. All children can be encouraged to speak out against dangerous behaviour, such as children pushing each other into the road, or running across roads without looking, or drivers driving too fast, or people not doing up their seatbelts or not wearing helmets on mopeds or motorbikes.