Behavioural observations of adult-child pairs at pedestrian crossings

M. Suzanne Zeedyk, Laura Kelly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    Pedestrian accidents are a serious health risk to children in the UK and other Western countries. There remains a considerable amount to be learned about children’s behaviour in real-traffic environments. The present study was intended to help fill this gap, by observing unobtrusively the behaviours of 123 adult–child pairs as they crossed the road at pedestrian light-controlled crossings. Eight behaviours were coded, including whether or not the pair stopped at the kerb, waited for the light to change, and checked to ensure traffic flow had stopped. Results showed that the adults observed provided reasonably good models of pedestrian behaviour, but that they rarely treated the crossing event as an opportunity to teach children explicitly about road safety. The only gender difference to emerge revealed that adults were more likely to hold girls’ hands than boys’ hands. No differences were observed in relation to (estimated) age of child. The implications of these findings for parental training programmes are explored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)771-776
    Number of pages6
    JournalAccident Analysis & Prevention
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • Pelican crossings
    • Parental training programmes
    • Child pedestrians
    • Pedestrian behaviour


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