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10/7/20blog post

celebrate international walk to school day, no matter what school looks like this year

help kids be safe while walking and biking

Every year, on the first Wednesday of October, schools around the world celebrate International Walk to School Day. This year may look a little different for some kids who are not attending school in person, but it’s always a good lesson to learn how to walk safely in your neighborhood.

Nationwide almost every hour, two children are injured or killed after being struck by a vehicle while walking. Dayton Children’s emergency department has seen nearly 800 injures related to road safety so far this year alone. That’s the highest number in the last five years

“Road safety is an issue that affects everyone,” says Abbey Pettiford, injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children’s. “We want kids to get out, take walks and bike rides, but we also want them to be safe while walking and biking.”

Dayton Children’s and Dayton Safe Routes to School offer these tips to keep kids safe while walking or biking on the road.  

  • Walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible.
  • Cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • After dark, wear reflective clothing or take a light. Remind children drivers won’t see them as well so they must be extra cautious.
  • Be a good role model – put away your phone, headphones and device when walking around cars.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike

Here are some tips to practice social distancing outdoors:

  • Grab a measuring tape and find out what six feet looks like. Make it a game to find items that are six feet in length.
  • Two sidewalk blocks or a car length is safe spacing. Safe walkers and riders give each other enough space to stop when needed. 
  • Allow more space than normal when passing.

“It’s a great time to get outdoors – the leaves are changing and it’s still pretty warm,” says Pettiford. “Using these tips will keep your whole family safe.”

To learn more about road safety, visit: