Kansas Students Will Celebrate International Walk to School Day Next Wednesday

By: From 13 News, Safe Kids, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From 13 News, Safe Kids, Posted by Ralph Hipp

TOPEKA – Over sixty schools across Kansas, along with several local Safe Kids coalitions and FedEx volunteers, will hold events on Wednesday, October 9th, to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Event coordinators and volunteers will encourage children to get physically active and teach them how to be safe pedestrians in their communities during the month of October.

“Walk to School Day is an opportunity to encourage students to build physical activity into their day and teach them how to keep safe on sidewalks and roadways,” 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.”

Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents to talk to teens. “So often we think about pedestrian safety as something we teach to our young children,” said Sage. “But teenagers are now the highest-risk group for pedestrian injuries.”

The Safe Kids Worldwide report, “Teens and Distraction: An In-Depth Look at Teens’ Walking Behaviors,” made possible with support from FedEx®, looked at whether teens are crossing the street while distracted, and if so, what devices they are using.

According to the research, 39 percent of the students who are crossing the street while distracted are typing on a cell phone and 39 percent are listening to headphones. The remaining students are talking on the phone (20 percent) or using another electronic device, such as a tablet or game (2 percent). While these activities seem like a normal part of a teenager’s day, these distractions can prove deadly.

Moment of Silence Campaign:
In 2012, Christina Morris-Ward was killed while crossing the street. She was wearing headphones and carrying a cell phone. While mobile devices are part of everyday life, we should remember that putting them down when crossing the street can be the difference between life and death. In memory of Christina and all those who have been killed or injured while crossing the street, Safe Kids is launching the Moment of Silence campaign. It’s easy to participate: simply commit to putting your device down and paying attention when crossing the street. Watch the video and learn more about the Moment of Silence campaign at safekids.org.

Tips for Parents:
· From the first conversation you have with young children about crossing the street safely, talk about the dangers of distraction.

· Talk to teens about putting down mobile devices while walking and remind them of the importance of looking up, listening and making eye contact when crossing the street.

· Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars.

Tips for Teens:
Put devices down, look up, listen, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
· Remember to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners with traffic signals and crosswalks when possible.

· Be aware of others who may be distracted—and speak up when you see someone who is distracted.

If you need to use a cell phone, stop on the sidewalk and find a safe area to talk.
· If you are wearing headphones, pull them down before you cross the street or turn the volume off.

· Driveways and parking lots can be especially dangerous because we are walking close to moving cars. Turn off devices in places where cars are going in unexpected directions, like backing out of a parking spot or turning out of a driveway.

Tips for Drivers:
When driving, look both ways for bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible or may step into the street unexpectedly.
Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones.

Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

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