Giving rides to children and young people

Why you need to be careful when organising rides

When children and young people attend regular sport or recreation activities, they may travel there by car. Often, the parents, caregivers, or members of their family or whānau will drop off and pick up their own children, and ensure they arrive and return safely.

There may be times when a whānau member does not give their own children or young people a ride. This could be:

  • when organising carpools to share the task

  • due to an emergency delaying or preventing people from picking their children or young people up.

There are risks involved when giving rides to tamariki or rangatahi with someone who isn’t a family member.

  • Most people are well-intentioned. But a small number of adults join clubs and organisations to gain access to children or young people. Unfortunately, giving rides in cars and vehicles creates opportunities to people who intend to groom or harm them.

  • If you’re an adult being asked to give someone else’s child a ride, you become responsible for them. It’s wise to take steps to make sure you are protected in the situation as well.

  • If you’re a club or organisation arranging travel to an event or activity — and the plan involves asking people to give rides to other people’s children and young people on their behalf — then you are responsible for taking reasonable steps to safeguard them.

There are simple precautions to follow to keep everyone safer. We’ll explain these next.

Learn more about grooming and what it is

Tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) means anyone under 18 years old.

Safer ride shares and carpooling

You could be organising rides or a carpool if you’re:

  • parents or caregivers sharing the transporting task with other families

  • volunteers or staff or at a club or organisation, and you’re organising travel to an event or activity.

If someone will be transporting other people’s children in a ride share or carpool:

  • get written permission from the child’s caregivers — this could be as simple as asking them for a text or email

  • confirm the drop-off and pick-up times and locations in advance

  • make sure each child or young person is okay with the arrangements — and listen and act on any concerns they raise

  • communicate delays or changes to the pickup and drop off points to the caregivers before transporting the child

  • we don’t recommend using taxis or Uber drivers unless an adult accompanies the child or young person.

If it’s a regular arrangement, reduce the chance of one person being alone frequently with a child or young person by:

  • dropping two children or young people off together at the last stop, if possible

  • varying who is dropped off last

  • alternating who does the driving.

Children and young people should sit in the back seat (unless it’s already full) and wear a seatbelt.

If the ride or carpool is arranged by the club or organisation:

  • make sure anyone driving has a full, clean driver’s licence

  • check if they have insurance and a current warrant of fitness (WOF) for their vehicle

  • ensure they know who to tell if they receive any driving penalties.

Unless it’s an emergency, you should avoid taking other people’s children on journeys alone in your car or vehicle, where possible. This applies even if you are a coach, volunteer or a member of staff at your club or organisation.

Giving a ride to someone else’s child in an emergency

Emergencies happen. People are held up. Caregivers should have the contact numbers for the club or coach so they can let them know about emergencies and late collections.

Sometimes a caregiver cannot be there to pick up their tamariki or rangatahi.

If this happens, you may be faced with a situation where someone else will need to take them home. Ideally, avoid letting an adult take other people’s children on journeys alone in their car or vehicle. But this isn’t always possible.

There are several things you can do to keep everyone safer:

  • establish who will drive them home — it’s okay to turn down offers if there are any concerns

  • contact the caregiver, let them know the travel arrangements, and ask for their consent

  • confirm who will be transporting the child or young person, why the plan changed, and when they will leave and arrive

  • if you can’t get hold of the caregivers, contact another staff member or volunteer at the club or organisation to let them know about the situation.

Somebody other than the driver should talk with the child or young person to:

  • explain the new travel arrangements

  • make sure they are okay with the plans — and listen and act on any concerns they raise

  • let them know who they can talk to if they want to report any concerns

  • ask them to sit in the back with a seatbelt on.

The driver should:

  • go directly to the agreed drop-off address and at the agreed time

  • not stop or detour on the way

  • make sure the child or young person reaches their caregiver or enters their home

  • confirm with someone else that you’ve dropped them off safely — a text would be enough.

More information

Planning trips with tamariki and rangatahi Safeguarding during travel Planning and supervising overnight stays