October 9 is International Walk to School Day. In addition to promoting healthy activity, walking to school can create community benefits like reducing traffic and boosting a sense of community in neighborhoods. Most important is to make sure that children walking to school are safe. Follow the tips below, and the attached PDF for easy tips to increase your child’s safety. Some of the best ways to increase the safety of a child's walking or biking trip to school are to: • Provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehicles. • Teach children to cross streets at marked crossings and to always look left-right-left. • Slow traffic in neighborhoods and near schools through traffic calming strategies and enforcement efforts. • Work with parents of children with disabilities and special education professionals to identify accessibility barriers. • Ensure that walkways are continuous and meet national accessibility standards. • Install curb ramps at every intersection and at mid-block crossings. • Provide accessible pedestrian signals at intersections. A Note About Personal Security Parents and other adults sometimes worry about children encountering bullies or strangers on the way to or from school. Parents may fear kidnapping or assault. While the actual occurrences are extremely rare, it’s important to deal with both perceptions and documented problems and to create a plan that will minimize risk.
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