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Winter safety tips

Road and travel safety

Accidents peak around age 12 when children are starting to make independent journeys, such as walking to school alone. 

More than half of serious accidents happen between 3.00pm and 7.00pm, coinciding with after-school hours.

Find out about road safety on the Child Accident Prevention Trust website and the ROSPA website

Did you know?

  • 2,030 people were killed or seriously injured in collisions in Surrey between 2020 and 2022.
  • Speeding is linked to a third of all serious and fatal crashes in Surrey – with half of all tragic collisions taking place on 30mph urban roads. Find out more on the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey website.
  • More than one in 10 of the total casualties was a pedestrian, around 80 per cent of children killed or seriously injured (KSIs) on Surrey’s roads are within 200 metres of a school gate.

Be seen

Child on scooter wearing reflective clothes

  • Fluorescent material does not work in the dark! 
  • We need to wear something reflective so we can be seen when car headlights are shining towards us.

Crossing roads: Stop Look Listen

Stop Look Listen

  • Children will copy what you do, so try to avoid stepping into the road without making it obvious you are checking it is safe to cross first.
  • Children cannot accurately judge the speed of traffic and safe gaps in traffic in the way that adults can and should not be left unsupervised to cross even quiet roads alone.
  • Older children should be taught to  put away their phone and take out any headphones when crossing the road. Remind them that they will be unable to hear traffic if they are listening to music through their headphones or see it properly if they are wearing a hood.


Since 2001, at least 39 children have been killed on or near their home driveway, 25 of these deaths were caused by a reversing vehicle and some were caused when the handbrake was accidentally released.

  • Reverse onto the drive when parking, so you can drive off forward when you leave.
  • Make sure to check that children have not followed you outside of the house without you realising and monitor children who may be excited to greet a visitor whilst their car is still moving.
  • Teach children about the dangers of driveways, both at home and when out walking.


Antifreeze bottle

  • Keep car antifreeze and screen wash away from young children at all times. The bright colours can attract curious children and they are highly poisonous when ingested.


In 2022, 139 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in Surrey, making it the most dangerous local authority in England for cyclists. 

  • Get your child into the habit of wearing their helmet and if you cycle as a family, remember to wear yours too.
  • It is a legal requirement to have lights and reflectors on bikes when you are out between sunset and sunrise.

Weather safety

Playtime in the snow

Boy sitting in snow

  • If sledging, choose a slope that is not too steep, make sure it is free of obstacles and does not end near a road, body of water or solid objects such as trees, fences and walls.
  • Only sledge during the daytime and if visibility is good.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Do not let young children sledge individually or unsupervised, and older children should only do so when they know how to stop and control their descent.

Ice and freezing temperatures

  • More than 50% of ice-related drowning involved attempted recuse of another person or dog. Keep dogs on a lead.
  • Children are attracted to frozen lakes, canals and Lochs as they present natural play opportunities.
  • Stay off the ice and frozen waters, they will not be able to hold a person’s weight.
  • Keep away from the edge and be aware that snow and leaves may obscure the edge.

If you see a person in the water: 

  • Call 999 and shout for help.
  • Stay off the ice: help from the land to the best of your ability. Always try to keep your eyes on the person, especially in moving water. 
  • Shout to the casualty to keep still to maintain heat and energy, use a calm reassuring voice if possible: Float To Live.
  • Look for rescue equipment or anything that will extend your reach such as a rope, pole, branch or item of clothing.
  • Reach or throw out to the casualty with it. Gently guide and move the person to the shore. Make sure that you are on stable ground. 
  • ​Keep the casualty warm and make sure they go to hospital. 

Find out about ice and weather safety on the ROSPA website.

Winter safety at home

Portable heaters

  • Give the heater space.
  • Keep the heater at least one metre away from anything flammable.
  • Buy brand new from a trustworthy retailer and, if possible, buy one with a trip switch (this means it will switch off if knocked over).
  • Do not use any heaters that are faulty, or have broken or damaged wiring.
  • Do not use your heater to dry your washing.
  • Do not cover your heater.
  • Keep children away from portable heaters as they may: get burnt even after the heater has been turned off.  
  • Do not drop or poke something through the vents of electric fires and onto the metal coil, which may start a fire.

Inside the home: fire safety tips

  • Use a fireguard/spark guard and put out any fire before going to bed.
  • Do not smoke in bed.
  • Use a CO2 detector if you have a gas or open fire or a woodburning stove.
  • Shut doors to the kitchen and lounge to keep fire out for up to 30 minutes.
  • Leave clear paths in your home for quick exit/entry for the fire brigade.
  • Have working smoke alarms on every floor.

Keeping warm in bed

Hot water bottles
  • Never put a hot water bottle in your baby’s sleep space as they can overheat.

  • Remind older children not to sit or lie on hot water bottles.

  • Replace hot water bottles after 2 years. Look for the flower symbol to let you know when the bottles was made. The bottle in the image below was made in April 2021.


Find out more about preventing burns and scalds on the Child Accident Prevention website

Electric blankets
  • Electric blankets account for over 5,000 fires a year in the home and 99% of these are caused by blankets over 10 years old. 

  • Replace electric blankets over 10 years old, or if damaged or frayed. 

  • Roll, rather than fold when in summer storage.

  • The kite mark shows it meets safety and quality standards. Image coming soon.

Winter safe sleep

  • Babies lose heat though their heads so remove hats or hoods when indoors, in a shopping centre or in a car, and remove all outdoor clothing when indoors to avoid overheating. 
  • Avoid placing babies near a heat source – they cannot regulate their temperature and are unable to move away from the heat.
  • Avoid padded blankets and duvets.
  • Avoid adding extra blankets to baby sleeping bags – check the tog and remember most sleeping bags are fitted according to your baby's weight rather than age.
  • The safest place for your baby is their own cot, but if co-sleeping remember adults body warmth will increase the warmth of the sleeping environment and adjust blankets accordingly.

Visit our Sleep and your baby page and The Lullaby Trust website for more information.

Child car seats and travelling with young children

  • Never use coats, snowsuits or thick clothing while your child is in their child car seat. This can be dangerous because it does not allow you to pull the harness as tight to your child's body as it should be. This can lead to your child's harness slipping off their shoulders in the event of a collision.
  • It is recommended that you avoid travelling in cars with pre-term and young babies for long distances. Babies may be at risk of breathing difficulties if they sleep in a seated position for too long.
  • If your trip involves driving for long periods of time, you should stop for frequent breaks. This will allow you to check on your baby, take them out of the car seat and let them stretch and move around.
  • Lap seatbelts need to be over the hip bones, NOT over the stomach.
  • Children must use a child car seat or booster seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall.
  • In a crash, you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seat belt
  • It is safest to use a rear-facing seat up to at least 4 years old.

Find out more about child car seat safety on The Lullaby Trust website and the In car safety centre website.

Visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust website for general safety information.