International Walk to School Day is Oct. 4. The day gives families a chance to shift a disheartening statistic: A generation ago, nearly half of U.S. kids walked or bicycled to school. Now, only about 15 percent do so, according to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Walking to school is a great way to get exercise - which we know kids need - and can even reduce traffic. One California study found that 26 percent of morning traffic can be school-related. And the more traffic there is, the less likely parents are to allow their kids to walk to school due to safety concerns.
Teaching kids to cross streets, obey crossing guards and signals, and follow the rules of the road can establish a foundation for lifelong traffic safety skills. Interested in encouraging other families to walk to school? The Partnership for a Walkable America offers online resources at www.walktoschool.org to help you put together a walk-to-school event in your child's school.
- Christina Elston
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