More than 60 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.
Officials also are reminding parents to talk to teens about the dangers of walking while being distracted by electronic devices, such as cellphones, iPods and handheld video games. Teenagers are the highest-risk group for pedestrian injuries.
Planned activities for Walk to School Day include group walks and lessons on safety. Advocates 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 in a news release. “Walk with them and identify hazards, act as role models for making good choices, and give them the tools to be safer pedestrians.”
Laura Bianco, a physical education teacher at Buckner and Spaght Elementary Schools in Wichita, said many students live within a mile or two of school but still catch a ride most days rather than walking.
“With it being so nice out, we’re encouraging them to get out and walk. It gets kids out and gets them fit. It’s a different routine,” Bianco said.
“Maybe their parents will get out and walk with them that day, and maybe they’ll enjoy it. They’ll talk to their kids a little more and see what’s shaking. … And walking is great – even just a few more steps is better for the body.”
For a list of schools registered to participate in Walk to School Day, visit WalkBikeToSchool.org and click on “Who’s Walking in 2013.”
Safe Kids Kansas offers these tips to help keep your child or teenager safe wherever they walk: