Once your baby’s on the move – walking, running or even scooting – being safe outdoors becomes even more crucial. We show you how to look after him without turning into that shouty mum you promised you’d never be
Strapped into a buggy, your baby may have been prone to the odd crying episode but at least he was secure. As a toddler, he may be keen to get around under his own steam, whether that’s walking alongside you, scooting, or later riding a balance or normal bike. So time for some toddler safety rules.
Set a good example
Your toddler will copy your behaviour, so if you’re in the habit of dashing across roads when there’s a gap between cars, try to stop doing this. Make sure you stop, look and listen, and point out that you’re doing this, then it’ll come more naturally as he gets older.
Watch out for driveways
They may seem like safe places to play because your kids are close-by, but actually they’re the most common place for an accident to happen involving a car hitting a child.
‘These cases usually involve a vehicle reversing into a child,’ says Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Teach your toddler his name
As early as you can, teach your child his name and surname and ideally his address. Should he be separated from you, it’ll come in useful.
If you’re in a crowded place like a museum or theme park, some mums write their mobile number on their kids’ arm – or, write it on a bit of paper and put it in your child’s pocket, in which case, it’s worth mentioning to them that it’s there.
As early as you can, teach your child his name and surname and ideally his address
Look for a Mummy
As well as telling your child to stay where they are if they get lost (rather than trying to find you, which usually makes things worse), government guidelines suggest you tell them to look for another mummy who has other girls or boys with them – this is safer than telling them not to talk to any adults.
We’ve all been there. Your child has decided to meltdown in the street, while people look on, horrified.
‘If he’s thrashing about close to a road, your priority is to keep him safe, even if you have to use physical force to restrain him,’ says Sarah Ockwell-Smith, a baby and toddler expert.’
Cruel as it might seem, it’s often better to strap a furious child into a buggy than risk him hurting himself by hurling himself around the pavement.
Keep them close
Don’t expect too much too young. ‘By the age of four or five, children begin to understand the concept of danger and pay attention to warnings given to them,’ says Kevin. ‘Before that, it’s easy to overestimate how safe they are.’
Whether your child is walking or scooting, make sure he stays close to you, especially on busy roads, rather than letting him go ahead – even if you trust him to wait for you at road junctions.