International Walk to School Day leads the way with safety tips for kids and families

Who doesn’t remember their parents shouting “Look both ways!” as their 10-year-old-self jetted out the front door?

In today’s world of busy streets and endless distractions, keeping kids safe means going a little further than the proverbial “look both ways” of the last generation. New street-safety guidelines are helping kids and families keep it safe.

This year, Safe Kids Pima County and FedEx celebrated International Walk to School Day at Whitmore Elementary, where parents, teachers, volunteers and Tucson Police Department taught 74 kiddos safe walking tips. KVOA and KGUN9 attended to help spread the word about the importance of child pedestrian safety.

Jessica Mitchell, the Safe Kids Pima County Coordinator at TMC, provided the latest walking safety guidelines for parents, families and children of all ages:

Top Tips for Kids

  • Look left, right and left again when crossing the street. And continue looking until safely across.
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Be especially careful in parking lots or when crossing driveways.
  • If you are using a cell phone, head phones or a game, remember: Devices down when you cross the street.

Top Tips for Parents

  • Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Teach kids at an early age to put down their devices and then look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.
  • Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.
  • When driving, be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones and be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.

Interactive Infographic

When kids are young, they are taught to look left, right, left before crossing the street, and to cross with an adult. But as they get older, and they are no longer with an adult, they need to learn walking safety goes far beyond looking both ways.

It is surprisingly common for children to get hit while walking. Every day, more than 40 children are hit by a vehicle while walking in the United States.

Safe Kids Worldwide, with support from FedEx, created an interactive infographic that provides an engaging demonstration of how crashes happen, and how they can be avoided.

How to Not Get Hit by a Car: 7 Common Ways it Happens and 7 Tips to Keep it from Happening to You highlights seven ways children are getting hit, paired with seven tips to prevent them from happening. You can learn how to not get hit by a car in less than five minutes with this fun infographic.

 

 

Walk this way – Walk to School

Safe Kids Pima County and FedEx volunteers will join students from Whitmore Elementary and around the county to celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 4. International Walk to School Day raises community awareness about walking safety and promoting healthy behavior.

Did you know unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19? Teenagers are now at greatest risk with a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths.

Whether or not your child’s school is participating, Jessica Mitchell, Safe Kids Pima County program coordinator, provides these suggestions for parents:

Teaching kids how to walk safely:

  1. Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across. Teach them to never run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  2. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers. Parents, let your actions speak as loudly as your words.
  3. Encourage your children to be aware of others who may be distracted and speak up when they see someone who is in danger.
  4. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  5. Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  6. Remind kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
  7. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  8. Cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections.

As kids get older, they’re anxious for a little more freedom when walking to school or playing outside. But this is also a time when parents need to stress the importance of the little things big kids should do to stay safe.

Remember you are your child’s first role model. Lead by example:

  1. Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.
  2. When driving, put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until your final destination.
  3. Be especially alert and slow down when driving in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
  4. Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.

For more resources to help keep your family safe
visit our website.

 


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