• Activity
  • Passenger Safety

Being a responsible car passenger

Learning areas:
  • Health & Physical Education
Year levels:
  • Prep
  • Year 1
  • Year 2

Seat belts and restraints

Discuss different types of seat belts and restraints using the pictures below.

Set up a small experiment with a toy car and a doll that fits into the car. Get the class to predict what might happen if the car ran into an obstacle with the doll unrestrained. Crash the car into a wall or something solid, noting the effect on the doll. Discuss.

Restrain the doll with a ‘seat belt’ (use a rubber band or ribbon) and ask students to predict what might happen this time. Again, crash the car, noting what happens to the doll.

Ask the class to draw some conclusions about how restraints protect passengers when the vehicle is braking or is in a crash.

Safety door

Use the pictures below to explain what is meant by: kerb, kerbside, road, roadside, passenger side, driver side, front door, rear door. Explain why the rear kerbside door is called the ‘safety door’.

Set out chairs in the classroom to represent the seating arrangement in a car. Role-play entering and exiting via the ‘safety door’.

Have the class draw a car showing members of their family using or wearing appropriate restraints and indicating the position of the ‘safety door’. Add this artwork to a class road safety display.

Discussion questions

Seat belts and restraints

  • What is a passenger?
  • When you are a passenger, what can you do to make sure you and other people in the vehicle are safer? (e.g. use restraints properly or they will be ineffective; use a booster seat; sit in the back seat if it is possible; do not distract the driver.)
  • What kind of seat belt or other restraint do people in your family use when travelling in a car? (e.g. baby capsule, child car seat, booster seat, child harness, lap/sash seat belt.)
  • Why do passengers need to wear seat belts?
  • Why are there different types of restraints for different sized passengers?

Safety door

  • Which door is the safest door for getting in and out of a car? (rear kerbside door)
  • Why is this the safest door? (away from traffic when parallel parked on the side of the road, and it is safer for children to travel in the back seat)
  • Where is a safe place to wait if other children are being helped to get out of a car? (on the nature strip or footpath beside the car)

Information for teachers

Seat belts and restraints

These include: baby capsule, child car seat, booster seat, child harness, lap/sash seat belt.

The type of restraint to use depends on the person’s age and size:

Where can children sit in vehicles?

Children under the age of 4 years must only travel in the back seat of a vehicle.

Children aged 4 years old to under 7 years old can only sit in the front seat if all of the back seats are taken by other passengers under 7 years old. The child must travel in a booster seat without a top tether strap, because there will be no anchorage points for the front seat.

Children aged 7 years and over can travel in the front seat. However, research shows that children under 12 years are much safer travelling in the back seat.

Safety door

The ‘safety door’ is the rear kerbside door. It is located away from traffic when a car is parallel parked on the side of the road.

Victorian curriculum

Health and PE


Identify people and actions that help keep themselves safe and healthy (VCHPEP059)

Identify actions that promote health, safety and wellbeing (VCHPEP062)

Level 1 & 2

Recognise situations and opportunities to promote their own health, safety and wellbeing (VCHPEP074)