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School Safety

Getting to and from school safely

​​​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. 

  • Watch over your child, your presence and guidance can help lower the risk of injury (supervision).
  • Make sure the area is safe (safe environments).
  • Teach your child to watch for danger (hazard awareness).
  • Make sure activities are right for your child’s development and age (age-appropriate).

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.

When can my child walk to school on their own?

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.

When can my child bike to school on their own?

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:

  • understand road safety rules
  • know how to signal
  • know how to avoid major risks

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).

Where can I find more information on teaching my child to get to and from school safely?

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