Traffic Safety for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Children can be hit by cars as pedestrians or bike riders, even when cars are moving slowly. Toddlers (one- and two-year olds) are most often hurt by a vehicle that is backing up. If a child is playing in a driveway or parking area, a driver may not see him or her. Preschoolers (three and four-year olds) are most often hit when dashing across a street near home.  

Dangers for young children on the move:  

  • They move quickly and can run into the street without warning. 
  • They don’t know safety rules and expect adults to watch out for them. 
  • They are small and hard for drivers to see. 
  • They cannot judge speed or distance of vehicles moving toward them.

Safety tips  

  • Supervise, supervise, supervise: Parents and caregivers must watch toddlers and preschoolers closely when they are near parked or moving vehicles. To supervise properly, you must be near your child, not watching from a distance. Hold your child’s hand when you walk together along the street.
  • Find safe places to play: Keep children away from traffic. Fenced yards, parks, or playgrounds are good places for your child to ride and play.
  • Set a safe example: Young children learn by watching adults. Show them safe ways to cross streets and always wear a helmet when you ride a bike.
  • Get them in the habit: When walking, talk to your child about street safety. Show him or her how to stop at the edge of the street and look for cars. Don’t expect your young child to do this by herself. Start children wearing helmets with their first tricycles or play vehicles. When children begin helmet use early, they are more likely to keep the habit in later years.

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