Friday, September 28, 2012News Release
More than 50 schools across Kansas, along with several local Safe Kids coalitions and FedEx volunteers, will hold events on Wednesday, Oct. 3, to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Event coordinators and volunteers will teach children about how to be a safe pedestrian, as well as how to identify hazards along their route to and from school.
“Walk to School Day encourages students to build physical activity into their day and teach them how to be safe pedestrians,” said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas.
Safe Kids Kansas also encourages parents to get out and walk along with their children. “It is one thing to tell students about pedestrian safety, but it’s even better to show them. Walk with them and identify hazards, act as role models for making good choices, and give them the tools to be safer pedestrians,” said Sage.
In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way Program in the U.S. to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities. Since that time, the program has expanded to several other countries across the globe.
For a list of schools registered to participate in Walk to School Day, go to www.walktoschool.org and click on Who’s Walking.
Safe Kids Kansas also has a few safety tips to help keep your child pedestrian safe:
Teach and model proper pedestrian behavior.
- Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers and wait until they come to a complete stop before crossing in front of them. Do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.
- Never cross the street between bushes or parked cars.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Don’t just rely on your ears – electric/hybrid vehicles run silently.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Be alert around cars. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up, as those drivers are likely looking at traffic and may not see you.
- Do not allow children under age 10 to cross streets alone. Adult supervision is essential until you are sure a child has good traffic skills and judgment.
- Children should walk where there are sidewalks whenever possible. Also, choose routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Buy clothing or accessories, like vests, with reflective materials for your family to wear. This will help you be visible at dawn, dusk and after dark, or during other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.
- Drivers should check frequently for children when backing out of a driveway or a parking space. Take a quick walk around your vehicle to look for kids, pets or other items. Consider purchasing a back-up camera if your vehicle is not equipped with one.
- Create a walking school bus. Identify adults who are able to walk a route to school and pick up children along the way. For more information, visit www.walkingschoolbus.org.
- Use safety assessment tools, such as the Walkability and Bikeability checklists to identify hazards and advocate for changes to improve safety. www.walkableamerica.org/checklist-walkability.pdf
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.