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More than 50 Kansas schools to take part in International Walk to School Day

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, at 11:03 p.m.

More than 50 schools across Kansas, including several in Wichita, will help celebrate “Walktober” with International Walk to School Day on Wednesday.

Safe Kids Kansas Inc. is among several groups promoting the annual event as a way to encourage physical activity and teach pedestrian safety.

Planned activities include group walks and lessons on safety. Advocates also encourage parents to get out and walk along with their children.

“It is one thing to tell students about pedestrian safety, but it’s even better to show them,” said Cherie Sage of Safe Kids Kansas.

“Walk with them and identify hazards, act as role models for making good choices, and give them the tools to be safer pedestrians.”

For a list of schools registered to participate in Walk to School Day, visit http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/ and click on “Who’s Walking.”

Safe Kids Kansas offers these safety tips to help keep your child safe whenever and wherever they walk:

• Teach and model proper pedestrian behavior.

• Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.

• Try to make eye contact with drivers and wait until they come to a complete stop before crossing in front of them. Do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.

• Never cross the street between bushes or parked cars.

• Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Don’t just rely on your ears – electric/hybrid vehicles run silently.

• Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.

• Be alert around cars. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up, as those drivers are likely looking at traffic and may not see you.

• Do not allow children under age 10 to cross streets alone. Adult supervision is essential until you are sure a child has good traffic skills and judgment.

• Buy clothing or accessories, like vests, with reflective materials for your family to wear. This will help you be visible at dawn, dusk and after dark, or during other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.

• Drivers should check frequently for children when backing out of a driveway or a parking space. Take a quick walk around your vehicle to look for kids, pets or other items.

• Create a walking school bus. Identify adults who are able to walk a route to school and pick up children along the way. For more information, visit www.walkingschoolbus.org.

For more information on pedestrian safety, call Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-0351 or visit www.safekids.org.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SuzanneTobias.

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