When can I let my child travel to and from school independently?
As children get older they naturally demand more independence and, at some point, they will want to travel to school without you. But how do you know when this is safe?
The answer will depend on your judgment of how well they manage the unpredictability of an ever-changing traffic environment.
Watching their behaviour and talking with your child about potential dangers will help you make up your mind.
Transport for NSW recommends you:
- always hold the hand of children under 8 years of age when in the traffic environment
- actively supervise children between 8-10 years of age when in the traffic environment
- ride with your children up to 10 years of age
- ride on the footpath with your child (you can do this up till they’re 16 years of age)
Before you allow your child to walk, ride or take public transport alone:
- Explain that road safety is a shared responsibility and they’re expected to follow the road rules for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
- Talk with them about their personal responsibility for making safe decisions.
- Plan the route together.
- Travel the route together, discuss potential dangers and solutions and role model safe road user behaviours such as:
- putting your mobile phone and electronic devices in your bag
- waiting at least one step back from the edge of the road before crossing
- stopping, looking, listening, thinking every time you cross the road together
- making eye contact with drivers so you know the driver has seen you, before stepping out onto a road.
- When practising, let your child make the decisions of when to cross the road so you can see how well they’re able to cope with various traffic environment situations.
- Consider responsible friends they can travel with.
- Discuss safe alternatives for going to and from school if something changes, e.g. missing the school bus, public transport delays, flat bike tyre, footpaths blocked.
Until you feel comfortable letting your child travel on their own continue to travel with them.
Read the following information and share with your child:
- Walking to school safely – pedestrians and drivers have a shared responsibility on and near roads and need to look after each other.
- Starting high school safely – as an independent traveller you're never too old to be safe
- Safety on public transport (PDF 887KB) – everyone who uses public transport has rights and responsibilities
- Switch it up (PDF 770KB) – 7 reasons to actively travel to and from school
- Always wear a helmet (PDF 1MB) – choosing a helmet to protect your lid.
- Skateboarding safely – skateboards are best ridden in safe areas away from busy roads.