Smart steps

Today, Wednesday, October 9, marks another International Walk to School Day – a day to encourage children to walk to school but also to be aware of pedestrian safety.

Each year, nearly 500 child pedestrians are killed in the United States.  In 2010 alone, more than 21,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for pedestrian-related injuries.  To combat this national problem, the Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx have developed Walk This Way, a multifaceted project designed to enhance safety for our children when walking to school.

Locally, Safe Kids Greater Dayton and Dayton Children’s Hospital support this initiative but working with local schools to teach pedestrian safety.  Today, we’ll be at Kiser Elementary School in Old North Dayton – helping kids walk to school and teaching them some safety tips along the way.

Hopefully, your child’s school is involved in International Walk to School Day in some way. No matter what, here are some helpful tips for walking safely with your child:

  • Developmentally, most kids can’t judge speeds and distances until at least age 10, so younger kids need to cross the street with an adult.
  • Did you know most walking injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections? Whenever possible, cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and keep looking and listening while crossing.
  • Remove headphones when crossing the street and if you need to use your phone, stop walking.
  • Distraction among drivers is at an all-time high today, so try to make eye contact with the driver before you step into the road.
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