Do not allow young children out alone on the road. Always go with them. If you cannot go then ask another adult or a fully responsible older child to go with them. You should always hold their hands and walk between them and the traffic whenever you are on or near a road or pavement. If you cannot do this then use reins or secure them firmly in a pushchair or carry them. Do not let them run onto the road.

Children up to the age of 11 ( those of primary school age ) should still be supervised on the roads, particularly the younger ones. You should hold their hands when crossing the road. If they must go on their own, tell them not to cross unless all the traffic from any direction has stopped or there is no traffic in sight. Do not allow them to make a journey unless they can cope with any dangers they might encounter.

Allow them plenty of time for their journey so they do not need to hurry, particularly when going to school. Try to ensure that they do not forget anything, as a worried or hurrying child may not take care.

You should set a good example when with children by following the Road Users' Code carefully and clearly so that they will learn the correct and safe way to use the road.

When using a pushchair keep it away from the kerb particularly when waiting to cross the road, even though it may be more difficult to see if anything is coming. Before you cross to an island make sure it has enough space for both you and the pushchair. If it is not, then cross the whole road in one go when it is safe to do so.

You should allow children to play only in safe areas. Do not allow them to play on the roadway or the pavement. Do not allow them to play where they can easily reach a road or pavement, or where there is likelihood of moving or parked vehicles.

Where there is traffic, or the likelihood of moving vehicles, never allow your child to use a bicycle, tricycle, pedal car, roller-skates or a skateboard.

Never wait for children on the other side of the road, for example when they are leaving a school or bus. A child, excited to see you may dash across without following the Road Crossing Code properly.

When getting in and out of vehicles let children get in first and get out last. When you are dropping off a child alone, wherever possible stop at a location where the child will not have to cross the road.

Teaching children the Road Crossing Code

The Road Crossing Code is a guide for all pedestrians. However, children need to be taught how to use it and should not be allowed to go out alone until they can understand and apply it. The age at which they can apply the Road Crossing Code will vary; for instance, many children cannot fully understand and apply those parts of the Code requiring judgement of speed and distance of approaching vehicles. Teaching children the Road Crossing Code, and the age at which parents allow them to go out and cross roads by themselves, should therefore be suited to the abilities of each child.

( For a full explanation of the Road Crossing Code and how to apply it in different road and traffic situations see pages 8 to 19.)

Children as cyclists

You must not allow a child up to the age of 11 to cycle on a road without adult supervision.

Do not allow any child to cycle on the road until he or she has gained the skills to ride competently and safely and fully understands and is prepared to use and share the road with other road users.

The decision about when each child is allowed to cycle in traffic is solely the responsibility of the parent or guardian.

You should also ensure that the cycle is suitable for the child and is in safe condition and properly maintained.

Riding of multicycles is restricted to certain designated areas and cycle tracks. Children under the age of 11 must ride or steer multicycles with an adult in these designated places.

( See chapter 4 'For Cyclists' on rules and advice for cyclists.)