Safe Kids Minnesota, Minnesota Safety Council Offer Tips for Safer Trips to School
Safety Groups Urge Heads Up on International Walk to School Day

ST. PAUL (October 5, 2016) - In support of International Walk to School Day, Safe Kids Minnesota and the Minnesota Safety Council are urging parents and schools to review and reinforce safe behaviors with children who travel to school on foot.

"Walking is fun and healthy - a great way to start a day of learning at school," said Erin Petersen, coordinator of Safe Kids Minnesota. "We applaud efforts going on around the state today to help keep young pedestrians and communities safe."

On average, a pedestrian injury among 1 – 14-year-olds is reported every three days in Minnesota, Petersen said. Overall, pedestrian deaths and injuries typically spike in the fall.

Among numerous activities statewide, Safe Kids Minnesota and FedEx volunteers joined children and teachers from Oak Crest Elementary School in Belle Plaine to raise awareness about pedestrian safety. The event was one of 600 events nationwide supported by the Walk This Way program. The program was created in 2000 by Safe Kids Worldwide and FedEx to teach safe behaviors to children and drivers, and to support the creation of safer walking environments around schools.

"Most pedestrian injuries to our kids can be prevented," said Paul Aasen, president of the Minnesota Safety Council. "Taking a moment at home or at school to focus on safer choices can make all the difference."

For safer trips to school, Safe Kids Minnesota and the Minnesota Safety Council recommend that:
  • Parents choose the safest route to school, walk it with children and review basic rules about crossing streets. Be aware that while every child develops differently, it can be hard for kids under age 10 to judge speed and distance of approaching cars.
  • Children be taught to walk on sidewalks or paths; put away phones and other devices; cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks; look left, right and left again, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Drivers be especially alert in residential neighborhoods, around school buses and in school zones for walkers who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
Safe Kids Minnesota works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death for children and teens. It is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Minnesota was founded in 1988 and is led by the Minnesota Safety Council. For more information, visit www.safekids.org or www.minnesotasafetycouncil.or/safekids.

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