Children's Road Safety

Advice and guidance for keeping children safe on the roads of Brazil...

Children under the age of ten must be seated in the rear of the car with a seatbelt. Children and babies under the age of seven-and-a-half must have an appropriate child seat.

Safety in the city

Be aware when crossing a road with a child as not all drivers' stop at traffic lights and cars will not stop at zebra crossings. If a driver is allowing an adult and child to cross a busy road, another driver behind may not know why the car in front has stopped, and pull out. It is always advisable to keep a very close eye on children and always be aware of that cars may come quickly from behind or around a bend.

Unfortunately, street crime has long been a problem in Brazil’s cities and cars waiting at traffic lights are easy targets. When traveling with children in the car, either in traffic or at night, it is advisable to keep the windows rolled up and try to ensure there is enough space to make a quick get away should anyone suspicious approach the car. At night, on quiet streets, many drivers tend to ignore red lights and keep moving. Although not legal, this practice is generally accepted by the police from a crime prevention perspective.

If things do escalate and a robbery occurs – with or without children – it is advisable to hand over whatever is asked for in terms of possessions. If children are present and the driver is ordered out of the car, it is important to calmly attempt to advise the assailants that there are children in the vehicle who must be removed before the car is taken.

In the large Brazilian urban centers, kidnapping has been on the rise and security is very tight around the more expensive private schools. Parents are advised to make sure the toddler’s school doorman knows who is collecting the child and checks with the administration that this guard will expect to see identification if someone out of the ordinary happens to be collecting the child.

The kidnapping issue is not restricted to the school gates and whenever families are in a crowded environment – on the city streets or in a shopping center – they should be constantly aware of where a child is and not allow them to stray.