Using active transportation to get to and from school is part of a healthy lifestyle. Activities such as walking, riding a bike, rollerblading, skateboarding, running, or jogging are good for you child's mental and physical health.
There are many ways to lower the risk of your child getting injured going to and from school.
For days when it gets dark earlier, consider having your child wear something that is brightly colored and that reflects light. Brightly coloured jackets and hats are easier to see. If they don’t already have it, reflective tape can be put onto backpacks and other accessories like hats or shoes. This will help people see your child better as it starts to get dark.
Safety research shows young children don't have the mental skills they need to cross the road safely. Between ages 9 and 11 years your child will start to develop the skills to get around safely in busier areas with lots of traffic and traffic lights. Keep this in mind as you teach your child.
It’s important to teach your child about pedestrian (a person walking) safety when they begin to walk with you. What you teach your child about pedestrian safety depends on their age and what they can understand. Match your teaching to their stage of development or understanding.
Have your child show you that they know how to cross the road safely before you let them walk alone to or from school or play in your neighbourhood without you watching them.
Complex skills like balancing the bike, watching for traffic, and paying attention to road signs take training, practice, and time to learn. Children aren’t ready to ride a bike alone on the road until they:
If your child wheels to school (uses a skateboard, scooter, or inline skates), it’s still important to teach them about road safety and to follow the rules of the road. You can help your child learn about safety by getting them some training and teaching about the importance of wearing the right gear.
Make sure your child can show you their bike and road safety skills before you let them bike to school on their own. Young children should always ride with you or another adult, even if they take the same route often (such as going between home and school).
To learn more about making school areas safer for children who walk and ride bikes, go to
Parachute Elementary Road Safety.
Current as of: November 29, 2023
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.