A new school year brings opportunity for families to give up driving and begin walking to school. Walking has so many benefits—it promotes physical activity, prepares brains for learning and increases children’s familiarity with their community and neighbours.
Walking with your child and negotiating neighbourhood streets with them provides an opportunity to develop traffic safety awareness and to practice safe pedestrian behaviours. Even better, it’s a great way to have quality time with your child before they start their day.
Even if you live far from your school you can still give your child the walking experience by parking five to ten minutes away from the school.
Did you know 26 judgment skills are required to cross a street safely and that many of these skills have not fully developed in a young child? For example, they may think that a car can stop instantly or if they can see a car the driver can see them. They are often distracted and may underestimate dangerous situations. Most children need supervision to walk to school until they are at least nine years old.
Important pedestrian safety tips to model for your child are:
• Cross at marked intersections or crosswalks.
• Look left, look right and look left again before stepping out onto the street.
• Wait until the road is clear.
• Always walk on the sidewalk.
Alberta encourages active and safe routes to school. For more information on how you can start a program in your neighbourhood contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Toll Free:1-877-533-4098.
For more information on pedestrian safety visit www.myhealth.alberta.ca