Today is International Walk to School Day! It’s a day when many school children are learning about safe pedestrian habits – and kids in Dayton are no exception. I’ll be with kids at Greenmont Elementary in Kettering for their event kicking off their walking school bus. I hope your child’s school is participating in some way!
The messages are the same year-to-year but this year, with the release of some new research by Safe Kids USA, it’s important to understand how dangerous it is for kids who are distracted walkers.
Fifteen years ago, 5-to-9-year-olds were the most at-risk group for getting hit by cars. Today, teenagers are at greatest risk. The death rate among older teens is now twice that of younger children. While there are a number of different factors – distracted walking (walking with headphones, while texting, etc.) cannot be ignored.
So whether you have a 5-year-old or 15-year-old, remember and share these important pedestrian safety tips:
- Developmentally, most kids can’t judge speeds and distances until at least age 10, so younger kids need to cross 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
- Walk, don’t run, when crossing the street
- It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths, but if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible
- Remove headphones when crossing the street
- 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