International Walk (and bike!) to School Day is coming up on October 8, 2014. According to the American Heart Association, children should get 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Walking or riding a bike to and from school each day is a great – and fun! – way to help meet that goal. And, teaching children at an early age that walking and bike riding is fun can even encourage these healthier habits to continue later in life.
Last year, in the U.S. alone, there were 4,400 events registered with Walk and Bike to School, with thousands of children taking a healthier trip to school. Worldwide, children in more than 40 countries participate in the event, which began back in 1997.
More than just a healthy start to the day, the event also seeks to shed light on the need for safe routes to schools for children. According to the Walk and Bike to School website, of the 203,000 children ages 15 and younger that were injured in motor vehicles crashes in 2009, about 15,000 of those injured were pedestrians.
In advance of Walk and Bike to School Day, it is important that parents talk to their children about safety, especially if the parents won’t be walking or biking to school with them.
Several tips are available for making sure children have an accident-free commute. For example, make sure to teach your child to only cross streets and pedestrian crossing zones, and to always look left-right-left before crossing the street.
If you’re interested in promoting Walk and Bike to School Day in your community, their website offers great tips and information that you can share with your friends, family, schools and community. You can also find out if there are already events scheduled near you, or register your own new event.
If you participate, be sure to send us pictures of your event and we’ll post them to the Inside Track and our social media channels.