Bring Back The Green Cross Code

My daughter forgot her dinner money this morning so I sprinted after her knowing she would not have dawdled far. It wasn’t long before I saw her ahead of me, with her elder brother and his friend, crossing at the pedestrian crossing as they are supposed to and then bimbling up the hill to school.

I struggled to get past a large group of children to reach her and, just as I finally overtook them, she took leave of her brother to set off to call for her friend.


I talked to her on the pavement, trying not to scream and flap my arms like a mad lady, trying not to upset her too much on her way to school, trying not to cry.

‘You didn’t look…you crossed the road and you didn’t look.’

‘Sorry Mummy’

‘Sorry Mummy isn’t going to help when you’re squished love’

‘Sorry Mummy’

‘You didn’t look behind you AT ALL’

‘I listened Mummy, there was no car’

‘What about bicycles?’

‘Oh…sorry Mummy.’

We had a hug and she went on her way to school and I went home, worrying. So, what do I do?

  1. Stop her walking anywhere on her own ever again?
  2. Follow behind her at a discreet distance but close enough to yell or leap if she gets it wrong?
  3. Go through the rules for the umpteenth time and just hope she listens?
  4. Make her watch one of those horrible films where someone gets hit by a car and flung into the air to land horribly injured or dead?
  5. Ask school to do a road safety talk?

I have found myself longing for the return of Tufty or The Green Cross Code Man, both of which stuck in my head as a child and ensured that I am a careful crosser even today – just as the International Tidy Man and the Bag It and Bin It campaign mean I never knowingly drop litter and can often be found with a bag full of rubbish waiting for a bin!

I think I may have to start a campaign to bring back Public Information Films.

So what do you think? Do I scare her? Do I calmly state the rules AGAIN? Or do I show her Green Cross Man and Tufty?

All ideas very gratefully received!


Filed under Children's Development, family life, Motherhood, Parenting

29 responses to “Bring Back The Green Cross Code

  1. It must have been terrifying watching her do that. It seems strange that they have adverts showing teenagers getting killed by cars by paying too much attention to mobiles but the green cross code for youngsters seems to have vanished. I’m sure I remember a couple of hedgehogs doing something quite recently on a tv clip?

    • It was heart stopping. I knew she was safe because the road was clear but it was the realisation that she doesn’t look and just relies on her ears that shocked me. I don’t think I’ve seen anything recently aimed at youngsters but we don’t watch much TV. I will try and track down the hedgehog one, thanks! x

  2. I’m like you I remember the green cross code and still use it today. Maybe you should show her that one and just let her know how worried you will be. Tufty maybe a little young for her. Good Luck.

    • Yes, I think I’m going to have to go over it all again calmly but firmly. It all comes down to trusting them to do the right things in so many situations…at least this gives me the opportunity for a good long chat over cocoa and biscuits.

  3. I scared the boys, road safty was upmost to me and still is. I have shouted, screamed and cried about it (but not to them thankfully) we have had the talk so many times and we will continue to have it. They both have only ever cossed one road on their own when in sight of me, but the day will come. I dont have any answers, but will be watching to see what everyone else suggests

    • She’s been walking to school without me (but with her brother) all year and is obviously beginning to get a bit blase about it. I’m going to show her the old ads and talk it through AGAIN. Being a parent is SUCH hard work. x

  4. Nat

    Show her the videos. How old is she? I tell my 4yr old abt when I got hit by a car. V diff circumstances I was in but she gets the idea I tell her if a car hits her it could kill her. At 4 she’s still flighty but knows dangers.

    • She’s 10 and I have told her many, many times. Just goes to show you can’t take it for granted that things have gone in. I’m seeing it as a chance to go over it all AGAIN now that I have calmed down a bit. Thanks for commenting. x

  5. Oh, terrifying. I’m with you all the way… bring back the films. Not least because it might give me some extra work. *Embarrassing Disclosure Alert* I used to read Tufty stories on Radio Humberside on a Saturday morning when I was about nine or ten. I’ve no idea how or why I was chosen. I just wish nobody (i.e. parents) had recorded them…

    • Thanks for making me grin Tim. Will you come round and read them to her please?! It was terrifying and I keep seeing it but it will give me the chance to go over some stuff with her again and hopefully this time it will stick.

    • She’s 10 and a bit dizzy. I’ll just have to sit her down and go through it all again. It was such a horrible moment but I’m actually very glad I saw it because it does give me a chance to tackle her about it.

  6. Yikes, the thought makes my stomach turn. My cousin’s little boy who’s only a couple of months older than Daniel (3) ran out in front of a car a few weeks ago, it’s only because the driver was so good he wasn’t hit.

    No advice I’m afraid but plenty of shared worrying :$

    • Thanks Rebecca. It’s a sharp reminder that we can’t take for granted that they have absorbed things properly. I’m hoping that the look on my face when I caught up witith her will stick in her mind and I’m going to go over it all again, calmly.

  7. I remember the Green Cross Code man too and my Mother actually ran a Tufty club and she used to bombard me with her old leaflets and books! It was drilled into me and I would hope that I have drilled it into my children too.. but how can we ever be really sure..? It must have been absolutely terrifying for you : (

    • It was and is terrifying. I know we can’t wrap them up and do it all for them but it’s hard to trust them to do the right thing when you see them doing the opposite. Can I borrow your Mum?

  8. Oh well done you for staying so calm at the time. I’d explain how scared it made you when you saw her ‘not’ looking, only listening. And yes, I’d show her the Green Cross Code film, they really should start showing it again for youngsters, it works. Getting the school to do a safety talk is good too.

    • Thank you, I didn’t feel calm I can tell you. It’s been on my mind all day and I keep seeing her stepping out wihtout a backward glance. I think it goes to show that no matter how many times you think you have said something you need to re-say it. I shall try calmly to talk it through with her when she gets home, re-state the rules for independent walking and show her the old ads. I do wish there was something a bit more up to date.

  9. Thank goodnessyou saw it because otherwise you would not be aware that she needs a bit of training! Green Cross code is good & of course the threat that she will never go anywhere without you!!

  10. I see she is 10. Children, up to the age of 10, aren’t great at crossing the road, they can’t judge the speed of cars etc and basically there is just too much going on for them to remember it all. She should be coming out of that phase. Is there any chance it was a one off? that she usually does check? I am not dismissing your fear at all, I would have done the mad handflapping woman thing so I think you were very restrained. But, I have recently stepped out onto a road without checking, I was distracted and didn’t even know I was doing it! Ask your other children, they see her crossing the road often at school times.

    I remember the Safe Cross Code song and will now be singing it all evening lol.


  11. My biggest, biggest fear is of my children getting run over. We live on quite a busy road. We have had such very close escapes with both of them that I could almost believe in guardian angels. (Just typing this comment is bringing back horrible flashbacks and heart palpitations. Ha. Blog post at some point I think?).
    Compared to some I think I am therefore probably over-protective when it comes to road safety, but in my mind you can’t really be too safe in this respect. I do find it strange therefore that there isn’t obviously something such as the Green Cross code that is taught any more. (Is this really the case?)

  12. Paula

    Sounds like you both had a scare. I’d deffo show her the videos – starting with our old faves, you could laugh at them together but explain that the message never changes. Do they not do any road safety in schools anymore? It’s not even something I’ve considered up till now – we live on a blind bend in a village, I let my 8yo cross the road but am always anxious about it….he’s pretty good though. It would be really tough on both of you to repeal her freedom, but you could let her know that you’re going to do ‘spot checks’, just to keep her thinking about it. Should we start a ‘bring back the Green Cross Code Man’ campaign?


  13. Pingback: You Can’t Always Protect Your Loved Ones | NEW DAY NEW LESSON

  14. It’s funny when we lived in London, my kids were so good about crossing the road. Now that we live in the country they have no road sense whatsoever. I think they were good in London because I was constantly drumming it in to them that they had to be careful. Plus we were doing it all the time. We got in to a routine of behaviour each time we came to the end of the pavement and needed to cross. Just keep going through the steps with her. Kids pick up on our fears pretty quickly. I am sure if she knows how you feel she will be quick to follow suit.

    • I thought I had drummed it into her! Obviously I hadn’t ranted enough…I’ve done a lot since THE INCIDENT! All I can do now is keep repeating and repeating and hope the message goes in (either that or she’ll punch me!)

  15. Whatever happened to the Green Cross Code? We learned it at school. I remember the video and I even had a Green Cross Code lunch box. It was just something we learned. They obviously worked for us so I’d show her the videos you’ve found. I hope it works out. You really don’t need the extra worry every time she goes off to school.

  16. I can’t give you any advice, i’m in exactly the same position. My little boy always just says “but i couldn’t hear any cars”. I have been really blunt with him, “you will get hit by a car, it will really hurt and you may die” but how do they really know what that means? Repetition and consistency i suppose. Never let them do it without being pulled up for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s