International Walk to School Day Focuses on Safety

October 03, 2012

Children’s Medical Center (www.childrens.com) and the Safe Kids Greater Dallas Coalition will join local school children and FedEx volunteers Thursday to raise awareness about pedestrian safety for International Walk to School Day.

Beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday, Children’s Medical Center, Safe Kids Greater Dallas and FedEx volunteers will walk with children to S.S. Conner Elementary School at 3037 Greenmeadow Dr. in Dallas to advocate for safer walking environments. An estimated 50 volunteers walking to the school will identify unsafe intersections, streets needing sidewalks and dangerous areas where pedestrians have been struck or nearly injured by vehicles.

The annual event – which draws at least 1,000 schools nationwide and more than 250,000 children across the United States – aims to teach children about walking safely and encourages creating safe pedestrian environments.

“International Walk to School Day is the perfect opportunity for students to learn how to remain injury-free as they walk to and from school,” said Kristen Beckworth, program coordinator of Children’s Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Service and a member of Safe Kids Greater Dallas Coalition. “Children are developmentally unable to perceive a road danger, which is why we are working with the students to teach them the proper street-crossing behaviors and locations.”

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Last year, Children’s Medical Center treated 118 victims who were struck by vehicles. Six of those injuries occurred in the 75228 zip code, where S.S. Conner Elementary School is located. The hospital has treated 88 children for such injuries so far this year.

According to a report released by Safe Kids, each day an estimated 61 children in the U.S. ages 19 and under are injured as pedestrians and more than 500 children are killed each year.  

“Children will model the behavior of adults, so keeping our child pedestrians safe is the responsibility of the entire community,” Beckworth said.

Volunteers on Thursday will teach children how to be safer as they walk to and from school and while playing outside. Reflective gear and pedestrian safety activity books will be given away. At 8:30 a.m., S.S. Conner Elementary School second-graders will gather outside for a short presentation before practicing safe walking with teachers and volunteers in a parade led by Dallas ISD police and the Dallas Police Department around the school.

About Children’s Medical Center

 
The private, not-for-profit Children's Medical Center is the fifth-largest pediatric healthcare provider in the country, with 559 licensed beds, two full-service campuses and 10 outpatient sites. Children’s was the state’s first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the only pediatric teaching facility in North Texas, affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center. For more information, please visit www.childrens.com.