A crossing guard (
North American English North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eve ...
), lollipop man/lady ( British, Irish, and
Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and ''de facto'' common language. English is the Lang ...
), crosswalk attendant (also
Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and ''de facto'' common language. English is the Lang ...
), or school road patrol (
New Zealand English New Zealand English (NZE) is the variant of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wor ...
) is a
traffic Traffic on roads consists of ''road users'' including pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in th ...
management personnel who is normally stationed on busy
road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places that has been Pavement (material), paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by foot or by some form of wikt:conveyance, conveyance (including a motor vehi ...
ways to aid
pedestrian of Alinga Street and Northbourne Avenue, Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the Federation of Australia, federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is ...
s. Often associated with
elementary school A primary school (in Ireland, the UK & Australia), junior school (in Australia), elementary school or grade school (in the US & Canada) is a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learn ...

elementary school
children, crossing guards stop the flow of traffic so pedestrians may cross an intersection. Crossing guards are known by a variety of names, the most widely used in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia being "lollipop lady/man", a reference to the large signs used that resemble lollipops. The verb is lollipopping, which can also be used for road works.

Australia and the United Kingdom

Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
, a school crossing supervisor or school crossing patrol officer is commonly known as a lollipop man or lollipop lady, because of the modified circular
stop sign
stop sign
he or she carries, which resembles a large lollipop. The term was coined in the 1960s when road safety awareness programs were rolled out in schools throughout the UK and the crossing patrols were introduced by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967. Ventriloquist John Bouchier visited schools nationwide with his ventriloquist dummy to help make children more aware of road safety. During these visits John's main character, a young boy named Charlie, referred to crossing patrol officers as "Lollipop men" for the first time. The term became widely used very quickly and has crossed into popular culture, both in the folk world (the common morris-dance tune "The Lollipop Man" has lewd lyrics in one tradition), and in the pop world (see the song by the band Sweet). Research in the UK has revealed that crossing guards ('lollipoppers') are seen as the safest school crossing option by parents and children, with nine out of ten (92 per cent) believing that every school should have one. In Australia, school crossing supervisors are employed by state government transport authorities and are posted at crossing sites by government officers. The exceptions to this rule are Victoria, where local councils employ crossing supervisors through their local laws department and
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a States and territories of Australia, state occupying the western percent of the land area of Australia excluding external territories. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, and the So ...
, where supervisors are known alternatively as police traffic wardens, and are employed by the traffic management unit of the WA Police. Supervisors in WA use handheld neon stop-flags instead of the traditional lollipop. Under UK law it is an offense for a motorist not to stop if signalled to do so by a patroller. In the past patrollers only had the authority to stop the traffic for children. However, the Transport Act 2000 changed the law so that a patroller had the authority to stop the traffic for any pedestrian. In the UK, the stop sign has the word "STOP", a horizontal strip of black, and an international symbol for children (the symbol is sometimes replaced with the written word "CHILDREN"). The design is based upon the Vienna Convention international standard roadsign for "passing without stopping prohibited". The patrollers are employed by local authorities, but there is a greater degree of standardization of the system across the country than in the US. They are often older people who have retired from full-time employment. They may be based at a pelican crossing, a zebra crossing, or just an ordinary point on the road widely used as a crossing. Due to an increase in abuse, threats and other aggressive behavior from some drivers, signs with built-in hi-tech cameras are being introduced to record offenders, cars and registrations. In Derby, UK training was provided by Matthew LeDoux-Deakin to School Crossing Patrols were trained how to cope with the growing problem of aggressive drivers.


In Austria the crossing guards are colloquially called ''Schülerlotse'' (German for "School Crossing Guard"). The service was initiated the first time in Salzburg in 1964. Most of the crossing guards are about 3,000 volunteering, volunteers or men, liable for ''Zivildienst in Austria, Zivildienst'' (an alternative mandatory community service, instead of military service). If volunteers or officials of the ''Zivildienst'' are not available, this service is fulfilled by officers of the Municipal police (Austria), local or Federal Police (Austria), federal police. The legal denominations are ''Schülerlotse'' for students from the age of 11 until 18 and ''Schulwegpolizist'' (German for "School Crossing Police Officer") for persons over the age of 18. The ''Schülerlotse'' is legally not allowed to stop the traffic, just to show that students want to cross, the ''Schulwegpolizist'' is entitled to stop the traffic. The ''Schülerlotse'' are equipped with reflective jackets and a traffic signs.


In Germany the crossing guards are called (pupil maritime pilot, pilot), (traffic assistant) or (way-to-school assistant). Due to the increasing traffic the first service started in 1954. Currently there are about 50,000 traffic assistants and traffic cadets in Germany, all of them are volunteering, volunteers. The traffic assistants are trained, organized and equipped by the (German Traffic Watch Association) in cooperation with the respective Landespolizei, state police. To become a traffic assistant, the candidate has to pass an exam which varies from States of Germany, state to state and lasts 6–12 hours. A Verkehrshelfer can become a (traffic cadet), if a higher level of training is passed, depending on the state's regulations about 32–120 hours. While the Verkehrshelfer are equipped with reflective jackets and circular traffic signs, there is a ranking structure for traffic cadets and they wear uniforms while on duty.

Republic of Ireland

Some school crossings are operated by junior traffic wardens, who are typically senior pupils at the school, working in teams of six.


Crossing guards in Japan are called ''Gakudōyōgoin'' (学童擁護員). The system started in Tokyo in 1959. It was founded as a way to offer employment to widows after World War II.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, a school crossing patrol, officially called a School Traffic Safety Team, but more commonly known as a School Patrol or Road Patrol, was first introduced in 1931 and has been acknowledged in New Zealand legislation since 1944. Students and supervising teachers are in charge of running the patrols each day, with students being trained each year by the New Zealand Police. Around 950 school patrols operate nationally. The two students on duty control and stop the flow of vehicles approaching a pedestrian crossing (or school crossing point) from either direction allowing school students to safely cross the road. This is done by extending orange school patrol signs onto the roadway in one or both directions so that the words "STOP - SCHOOL PATROL" is clearly displayed to any approaching driver. Once the traffic has stopped, one student verbally instructs pedestrians to cross the road. One of the two students leads the crossing with a series of verbal calls. When a gap in the traffic appears the leader calls "signs out" (both signs are extended onto the road). "Check" (Both students check that traffic is stopping/stopped). "Cross now" (students may cross safely) and finally "signs in" (Signs are withdrawn from road). All traffic is legally required to stop if one or more signs are being displayed. The stop signs used are mounted onto the pedestrian crossing poles which have a hinged bracket attached, allowing the students to easily and quickly extend (swing) the sign out onto the roadway, during breaks in the traffic. These signs are removed from the poles and stored away while the crossing is not in operation and are usually constructed from aluminium, allowing them to be light and relatively easy to carry by younger students. Kea Crossings (school patrols that don't operate on pedestrian crossings), and School Traffic Wardens, are also in place at some New Zealand schools where low to medium traffic is present.


The crossing guard service in Switzerland is provided by traffic cadets organized by the Swiss Verkehrskadetten Association, Swiss Traffic Cadets Association. Depending on the Cantons of Switzerland, canton the all volunteer cadets are equipped with different uniforms and a ranking structure.

United States

No universal regulations exist that describe who may be a crossing guard, where crossing guards are stationed, or for what purposes a crossing guard may be employed. This person may be paid or volunteer; the person may be a school employee, a member of local law enforcement, a city employee, or contracted privately. Many elementary school crossing guards are assisted by older students, known by a variety of titles such as "safety monitor" and "patrol, safety patrol." These do not have legal responsibility for the safety of children. The first school safety patrols were formed in the 1920s, because of growing concern for the well-being of students walking to school because of increasing fatalities and crossing incidents. Early patrols were formed in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1920, and in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1923. Crossing guards, except those who are duly sworn public safety officers, have no arrest powers, may not write Ticket (notification), tickets, and may only forward the license plate numbers and other descriptors of alleged violators to local law enforcement, who decide what to do with that information; results may range from nothing at all to a verbal warning to a written summons and fine. Similar procedures exist in most areas for school bus drivers, who may observe motorists disobeying the bus School bus#Safety devices, stop arm or flashing lights usually displayed when children are entering or exiting the bus. In some cases, the crossing guard may be injured due to a speeding car. For example in Kansas City, Kansas, Bob S. Nill was struck and killed by a distracted driver and Nill credited with saving two children.

Signs used by crossing guards

Several countries have a unique sign for use by crossing guards to order traffic to stop. In Canada and the United States, crossing guards use a smaller version of the standard octagonal
stop sign
stop sign
on a small pole. Australian crossing supervisors sometimes also use a normal octagonal stop sign, but often have other designs. In Japan, children sometimes hold a yellow flag themselves while crossing the street, or sometimes a crossing guard holds one while they cross. File:Australia road sign R6-8.svg, Australia File:Brunei road sign - School Crossing Patrol.svg, Brunei File:Canada Stop sign.svg, Canada File:Chile road sign RPI-3.svg, Chile File:Germany - schülerlotsen stoppschild.svg, Germany File:Ireland road sign RUS 032.svg, Republic of Ireland File:Israel road sign 304.svg, Israel File:Crossingstreetflag-japan.svg, Japan File:Mauritius Road Signs - Prohibitory Sign - Prohibition of passing without stopping (Children).svg, Mauritius File:Nederlands verkeersbord F10.svg, Netherlands File:New Zealand road sign R2-4.svg, New Zealand File:Peru - Alto para Ninos.svg, Peru File:Turkey road sign TT-2a.svg, Turkey File:UK traffic sign 605.2 (fluorescent).svg, United Kingdom File:MUTCD R1-1.svg, United States File:Zimbabwe school crossing sign.svg, Zimbabwe

See also

* La Paz traffic zebras - a team of young people who dress in zebra costumes and dance in the streets of La Paz, Bolivia in order to make drivers and pedestrians aware of traffic rules * Pedestrian * School bus traffic stop laws * Traffic * Traffic cadet * Traffic guard * Traffic police * Traffic safety * Volunteering * Walking bus


{{Authority control Pedestrian crossings Road safety