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Safety Out and About

Walking, Biking, Scooter, School Bus and Shopping Cart Safety

Walking and cycling are terrific ways for kids and grown-ups to get around, get to school, take family outings, and stay active and healthy.  A few simple precautions can help keep everyone safer while out being physically active.

What are the risks to kids out and about, and how can I keep them safe?

Be aware of your child’s developmental stage and know the risks for their stage.    Parents often think children are able to handle traffic safely by themselves before kids are actually ready.[1],[2]

Be aware of other risk factors.

Know and teach guidelines for safe walking and biking.  Remember the power of teaching by example!

Help your child identify safe routes to and from their destinations.

Have your child wear appropriate safety gear for their activity.

When you are driving, be alert for children and stick to the speed limit.

How can I find out more about safe walking and biking for children? girl with scooter and helmet

Visit these useful pages:

What about scooter safety?

[10], but helmets are no less important for safety on a scooter.  In fact, your child should wear a helmet plus additional protective pads to prevent injury.  The CPSC recommends kids under 12 not ride fast-moving motorized scooters [11].

What about bicycle-mounted child seats and bicycle-towed child trailers?

At this point in time, there is not enough data to tell which is safer:  bike seats or trailers.  What we do know is that any child who rides in a bike-mounted seat or bike-towed trailer should wear a helmet [12] [13] [14]. Kids under age one should not ride along—they don’t have the necessary neck and back strength yet.  Ask your pediatrician about bike trailers.  The ride can be extremely bumpy for a young child, and may not be healthy for their brain. 

How can I learn more about helmets and bicycle carriers for children?

Check out these links from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute about helmets and bike carriers for children.

How can I improve the safety of my neighborhood or community for my kids when they are playing, biking or walking?

How can my child stay safe when they ride the school bus?

More children are hurt outside a bus than in one.  Here are some safety do’s and don’ts to teach your kids:



How can I find out more about school bus safety?

Visit the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration’s links below for more details:

What do I need to know about child safety and shopping carts?


Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N.  Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan
Updated October 2009

U-M Health System Related Sites:
U-M Pediatrics

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