Child pedestrian safety

In Canada, pedestrian injuries are one of the leading causes of injury-related deaths for children 14 years of age and younger.

While there has been a 54-per-cent decrease in pedestrian fatalities in children ages 0 to 14 years betwen 2005 and 2014, each death remains a tragedy - most often a preventable one. Injuries to child pedestrians are often severe.  They may be left with long-term disabilities, emotional strain and financial burdens that can last a lifetime.

How to teach pedestrian safety to your child

Talk to your children about pedestrian safety as soon as they begin walking with you, and continue doing so until their early teenage years.

Younger children usually don't have the cognitive and physical skills to make safe judgments about road crossing and traffic.  Your presence and guidance can help reduce the risk of injury. 

To cross a street safely by themselves, children need three important skills:

1. Able to decide on and use a safe crossing route
2. Able to properly assess a vehicle's speed
3. Able to judge safe gaps in traffic

To help decide when your child is ready to cross by themselves, you should think about the streets that your child will be crossing (e.g., on the way to school), and assess if your child has all three skills. If they don't, they will still need to walk with you or another adult.

See Pedestrian safety tips for more information.

Walk Safe Video

Check out our short video covering the top tips on how to walk safely with your children.

The Walk Safe video can be viewed in Punjabi, French and Chinese at the below links:

What else works to reduce child pedestrian injuries?

Reduced traffic speeds

Reducing vehicle speed has proven to be effective in preventing crashes and reducing the severity of injuries.

Even small reductions in vehicle speed can yield significant reductions in injury risk. It is estimated that a pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 50 km/h is eight times more likely to be killed than someone hit at 30 km/h.

Check out our Speed reduction page for more information on vehicle speed and pedestrian safety.

Make communities more walkable

Communities that are more conducive to walking have fewer pedestrian injuries. These communities have environments that promote walking by making routes attractive (e.g., trees and trails) and safe (e.g., sidewalks and crosswalks).

Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety initiative based on the philosophy that no one should be killed or seriously injured on the road. One of the key areas of focus is enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety.  Check out our Parachute Vision Zero for more information on how to make Canadian roads safer.

Did you know?

  • Young children are at risk of pedestrian injuries because they have not yet developed the cognitive and physical skills to cope with the many challenges of traffic.
  • Having parents or caregivers present can help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Children aged 14 years have the highest incidence of pedestrian-related deaths. Infants aged 1 year or younger have the second-highest pedestrian-related deaths.
  • Most child pedestrian injuries and deaths occur in urban areas. However, when a pedestrian is hit on a rural road, the result is more likely to be fatal because of higher vehicle speeds.
  • Child pedestrians are most often hurt in the months of September and October, followed by May and June.