A comprehensive guide for parents on promoting youth safety

Injury prevention is an important consideration to ensure safety among young Australians. This comprehensive guide will help parents get started on this journey.

Here’s all you need to know about promoting youth safety as a parent

Today’s youth are stepping into a world full of new experiences, opportunities, and challenges. However, this also means they face a range of risks that can affect their health, well-being, and future prospects.

Whether it is at work, on the road, in sports, or in social situations, they need to be aware of the potential hazards they may come across so that they can protect themselves from harm.

This awareness should ideally start at home. This comprehensive guide aims to educate parents on the potential risks that young people may encounter and provide useful information, tips, and resources on how to ensure youth safety in four key areas: work, road, sports, and socialising.

Work safety: Protecting the youth from workplace hazards and injuries

Many teens work part-time or full-time jobs to earn an income, gain experience, or learn new skills. However, engaging in work can also expose them to various hazards and injuries, such as cuts, burns, falls, sprains, strains, or exposure to harmful substances or environments.

We focus on the four settings in which young people are most likely
to be injured: on the road, at work, while playing sport, and when out socialising with friends.

Below are some steps to follow to ensure the safety of youth in the workplace:


Support or advise them to choose a safe and reliable job that matches their age, skills, interests, and abilities. Make sure to check the legal requirements and restrictions for young workers in your area as well.


Help them make sure the working hours and conditions are fair, reasonable, and compliant with the law—and help them avoid excessive or irregular hours, such as late nights, early mornings, or long shifts.


Educate them on the importance of reporting any problems or incidents that occur at work, such as accidents, injuries, illnesses, harassment, or abuse. Help them keep records of any documents, receipts, or witnesses.


Offer support if they are experiencing stress or fatigue from working, such as physical exhaustion, mental pressure, or emotional strain. Encourage them towards work-life balance and prioritising mental health.

Road safety: Protecting the youth from road accidents and fatalities

Driving is an exciting prospect for the youth. However, those who drive or ride as passengers face a high risk of road accidents and fatalities, as they are more likely to be involved in crashes, collisions, or pedestrian injuries than any other age group.

According to the WHO, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for people aged 5-29 years, and more than 1 million people die each year on the world’s roads.

Some common causes of road accidents among the youth are speeding, distraction, impairment, inexperience, and peer pressure.

As a parent, you can take the following steps to ensure their safety:


Encourage them to follow the rules of the road and practise safe driving habits, such as wearing seat belts, obeying traffic signs and signals, keeping a safe distance, and being alert and attentive at all times.


Advise them to avoid distractions and impairments while driving or riding, such as turning off or silencing phones, devices, or music, and never driving or riding under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.


Help them gain experience and confidence by taking driver education courses, driving or riding with a licensed adult, or using a graduated driver licensing system so they understand their privileges and responsibilities.


Encourage them to resist peer pressure and make smart choices by choosing safe and reliable drivers or riders, avoiding risky or illegal behaviour, and speaking up or getting out if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Sports safety: Protecting the youth from sports-related injuries

Youth who participate in sports or physical activities benefit from improved fitness, health, and well-being. However, sports can also expose them to injuries and illnesses, such as fractures, dislocations, bruises, or concussions, which can affect their performance, development, and quality of life.

The CDC reported an average annual estimate of 8.6 million sports and recreation-related injuries with persons aged 5-24 accounting for 64.9% of them.

Some common causes of sports injuries among the youth are lack of preparation, lack of equipment, lack of supervision, excessive or improper activity, contact and collisions.

Here are some steps you can follow as a parent to ensure their safety:


Educate them on taking precautions to prevent injuries and illnesses, such as warming up, cooling down, stretching, and staying hydrated before, during, and after sports or physical activities.


Teach them to wear and use protective gear and equipment, such as helmets, pads, or shoes, and make sure they are fitted, adjusted, and maintained properly, while also checking with peers/coaches.


Impart the values of following the rules and instructions of coaches, trainers, and referees, and play with respect, fairness, and sportsmanship so that their and their peers’ safety is assured.


Make sure they rest and recover from injuries by following the advice and treatment of health professionals, taking time off from sports or physical activities, and returning gradually and safely.

Social safety: Protecting the youth from social problems and pressures

Socialising, whether online or offline, is very important for the youth as they develop important social and emotional skills, such as communication, cooperation, and empathy. However, it can also expose them to various issues, which can affect their self-esteem, mental health, and relationships.

According to the WHO, up to 1 billion have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect and Pew Research revealed that 46% of teens experienced cyberbullying.

Some of the main sources and forms of social problems and pressures for the youth are bullying and cyberbullying, peer pressure, substance abuse, unprotected or involuntary sexual activity, and violence.

Below are some steps to follow that can help ensure the safety of youth:


Teach them to be respectful, responsible, and assertive in their interactions—treating others with kindness, honesty, and dignity, taking responsibility for their actions and choices, and saying no or standing up for themselves or others when necessary.


Encourage them to be aware of the risks and consequences of engaging in risky behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, using drugs, having sex, or being involved in violence, and make informed and sensible decisions if they are met with such a situation.


Educate them to protect themselves from cyberbullying and online predators, such as using privacy settings, blocking or reporting abusive or inappropriate users or content, and never sharing or sending personal or sexual information or images online.


Advise them to seek help from trusted adults, such as parents, teachers, counsellors, or health professionals, if they face any problems or challenges that affect their safety or well-being, such as stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, or trauma.

Help ensure youth safety in the workplace, on the road, in sports, and in social situations

As a parent, we’re sure the safety of your young children is a big concern for you. We hope this comprehensive guide helps you assure their safety in the wide variety of situations they might encounter dangers or risks.

Invest in the safety of young people with Youthsafe’s evidence-based youth safety programs. We aim to create long-term, youth-focused change by improving the capacity of parents to reduce youth injury.


How can parents help assure youth safety?

Parents can assure safety by communicating with them, setting boundaries and expectations, providing guidance and support, and respecting their choices and privacy.

How can parents help the youth stay safe on the road? 

Parents can help by encouraging them to follow the road rules, wear seat belts, avoid distractions, avoid alcohol and drugs, and drive within their limits. Parents can also model safe driving behaviour, supervise their teens’ driving practices, and choose a safe and reliable vehicle for their teens.

How can I help my teen deal with peer pressure?

Educate them to have a strong sense of self and values, support their choices and respect their opinions, listen to their concerns and feelings without being judgemental or critical, and help them find positive and supportive friends and role models.