Safety matters because your children matter. As a parent, you have the important job of keeping your children safe. The following car safety and prevention tips can help you teach your children to be mindful and safe around cars and traffic:

Inside the Car

  • Buckle up! Wear your seatbelt at all times. If your child unfastens their seat belt, pull over to a safe place, stop the car and wait until the belt is refastened.
  • Use a booster seat for the younger child and always seat them in the back. Always seat children under 12 years old in the back.
  • Don’t let yourself get distracted. Noise levels of children talking or playing can be distracting while driving. Maintain calm in the car; bring quiet activities such as books to occupy your child on drives.

Outside the Car
  • Check all around your car before getting in and driving away.
  • Be especially vigilant when backing up.
  • In parking lots, keep your child close, holding hands of very young children, and always explain the dangers of running in parking lots.
  • If your child cannot see the driver, chances are the driver does not see her. Explain how important it is to make eye contact with the driver.

On the Street
  • Practice this rule of thumb with your child when crossing the street: look left, then right, then left again and right again—now cross.
  • Teach your child to cross at green lights and pedestrian cross-walks, and always hold hands with young children.
  • If your child must cross the street to get on a school bus, teach them to do so at the lights or stop sign, to use pedestrian cross-walks or wait for the school crossing guard (brigadier).
  • Teach your child about the importance of always wearing a bike helmet when cycling.

School Bus Safety
  • Explain that the bus driver has a big job and how your child can help make it safe for everyone by being quiet and staying seated while on the bus.
  • Watch for the bus driver’s signal that it’s safe to cross.
  • Teach your child about the danger zone around the school bus, which is measured in ten GIANT steps, and that if s/he drops anything in this zone, not to pick it up.
  • Looking both ways still applies when crossing in front of a stopped bus. If using city transportation, teach your child to wait until the bus moves away before crossing, unless the light is green, and then to still look both ways.

Kids love to run and play. Teach your child not to run or play in parking lots, near cars and buses and to always pay attention to the rules. Make learning car and road safety and prevention fun with stories, songs and games to put your child at ease. Remember that you are your child’s first teacher and your job as parent is to model safety because your child’s safety matters.