In observance of International Walk to School Month and International Walk to School Day on October 3, Safe Kids Worldwide and employees of FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), are teaching children in seven countries about safe pedestrian behavior and are working with schools and communities to improve walking environments.
More than 600 Safe Kids Pedestrian Safety Educational Events Will Take Place Around the World
Millions of children, parents, and community leaders from 40 countries around the world joined together last year in celebration of International Walk to School Month. This year, in the United States, more than 600 Safe Kids educational events are planned for school children to focus on pedestrian safety issues in local communities. Similar events also are being planned in countries around the world.
Road Traffic Injuries Lead Deaths Among Young People Worldwide
Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 10-24 years. Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads – on average, more than 1,000 a day. Most of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and among vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and those using public transport.
Pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 5 to 14 in the United States. Across the country each year, more than 630 children are killed and 35,000 treated in emergency rooms as a result of pedestrian injuries.
Boys at Highest Risk in the United States
According to U.S. injury statistics, African American children, male children, children living in high- density areas and children residing in low-income households are most at-risk for these types of injuries. “It is important that parents and teachers deliver strong, consistent messages to children about walking safely and consider teaching these messages as important as teaching them, say, to read well,” says Dr. Martin R. Eichelberger, chairman and co-founder of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Both of those skills will help them become productive adults, but teaching walking safety will help keep them alive.”
Children and drivers alike must practice safe behaviors and be aware of their surroundings in order to prevent kids from being injured while walking. It is also important that communities work together to create safe environments for children to walk, Eichelberger said.
Events Planned in U.S.
Through the Safe Kids Walk This Way program, children learn about important behaviors for walking safely. This year, as part of the program in the United States, more than 600 Safe Kids coalitions across the country will hold local educational events, including press conferences, and mass walks to and from school, to bring attention to particular pedestrian safety issues in their communities. Some important local issues include unsafe intersections, schools that lack crossing guards, streets where there are no safe sidewalks and dangerous areas where more than one pedestrian has either been hit or almost injured by a car.
Events Planned Worldwide; India Joins Safe Kids Network
Internationally, Walk This Way events will be held in six countries, including India, Safe Kids’ newest member country. The Walk This Way kickoff event at the Holy Name School in Mumbai will be the first-ever Safe Kids event in India. Other Safe Kids activities happening around the globe will include safety walks to celebrate National Road Safety Week in Brazil; an essay writing contest with the theme of how children can help keep roads safe in the Philippines; an after-dark walk to educate children about being seen by drivers at night in Korea; and a “Favorite Crossing Guard Contest” in Canada.
This is the eighth year that Safe Kids Worldwide and FedEx have joined for the Safe Kids Walk This Way program. The program began in the United States in 2000 and seven countries now participate. International Walk to School Day events will also be taking place in Beijing, China as part of the 2007 Walk This Way program. FedEx volunteers and Safe Kids organizations in all seven countries will join together this year to educate children and adults about preventing accidental injuries to child pedestrians.
For more information about the risk of child pedestrian injury in the United States, and other child safety issues, visit www.usa.safekids.org/wtw.