Teach your kids to walk safely, by age

How do you teach your child to walk to school safely? Below you will find a guide that is intended to help parents and caregivers match their guidance and expectations with their children’s abilities. Remember, the ages are a guideline, but you know your child’s behavior and abilities best.

Ages 4-6

This age group needs to walk with an adult who will make safety a priority. Introduce, discuss and practice basic walking safety skills.

Tips for pedestrian safety skills age 4-6

Ages 7-9

While every child’s development is unique, children in this age group need supervision when they walk near traffic. Make sure your child is ready for the next step in learning how to walk safely.

Tips for pedestrian safety skills ages 7-9

Ages 10-12

By age ten, some children are walking with less supervision or alone. Use the link below to assess your child’s skills in walking safely near traffic.

Tips for pedestrians safety skill ages 10 and older

This guide was developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) in collaboration with SRTS experts from around the country and support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). Click here for the full article.

The safest place to walk is on the sidewalk. Teach kids to walk on the sidewalk where they are available. If there is not a sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as possible.

Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right, and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.

Obey all traffic signals and pavement markings when crossing the street. Slow down and stay alert.

Walk, don’t run, across the street.

Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and don’t dart out into the street or cross between parked cars. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

Be alert to your surroundings. Listening to music or being on their mobile device may keep them from hearing and seeing vehicles around them. Teach them to be alert, especially when crossing the street. 

For additional tips watch SafeRoutes’ Beat the Street video about walking and biking to school safely.