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Walk to School Day - October 7, 2009

parent holding child hand while walking

On October 7, 2009, Walk to School Day, join people across the country as they walk to school together. Walk to School Day is an annual event that promotes safer, healthier communities.

school crossing signWalking has great health benefits, but a walk to school should be safe. Learn how you can help your child be the safest pedestrian possible on October 7 and all year round!


What Should I Know?

It’s especially important to watch out for children’s safety when they’re walking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,784881 pedestrians in the school childUnited States died from traffic-related injuries in 20065, and another 614,000 were non–fatally injured. Nearly one out of every five children ages 5 to 9 years who died in traffic were pedestrians. Child pedestrians are at higher risk for injuries than adults for several reasons:


Kids’ smaller size makes them difficult for drivers to see, especially if they’re standing between parked cars on the side of the road.

Inability to Judge Distances and Speeds

Because of their age and developmental stage, it's harder for them to judge distances and vehicle speeds. This can lead them to misjudge when it's safe to cross the street.

Lack of Experience with Traffic Rules

Kids’ young age and developmental stage can make it hard for them to apply traffic rules in real–life settings. Also, drivers and child pedestrians may each assume, incorrectly, that the other will yield the right–of-way.

What Can I Do?

dad and child walkingThere are steps you can take to help keep your child safe. The following resources offer tips for parents on how to help encourage safe walking, which is the first step in preventing child pedestrian injuries:

CDC KidsWalk-to-School Community–Based Program
On this site, you can learn more about the KidsWalk–to–School, developed by CDC's Nutrition and Physical Activity Program. The site includes a section on pedestrian safety.

NHTSA: Transportation Safety Tips for Children
This resource offers eleven tips for parents on traveling safely with young people. Tip #8, Kids on the Move: Walking and Biking Safely (pdf icon 617KB, 2 pages), gives specific advice to help parents encourage walking safety.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Guide Web site *
This Web site gives information on how to start a SRTS program, an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer for children and to increase the number of children who choose to walk and bicycle.

SafeKids Worldwide: Pedestrian Safety Tips
SafeKids offers simple safety tips on child pedestrian safety, as well as other important topics.

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