Jacksonville Children Join Safe Kids Northeast Florida for International Walk to School Day | Community Spirit
Safe Kids Northeast Florida, led by Wolfson Children’s Hospital, will join local school children, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, and FedEx volunteers on Wednesday, Oct. 5, to raise awareness about pedestrian safety on International Walk to School Day. More than 250,000 children across the United States and nearly three million around the world will participate in the annual event to learn about walking safely and to encourage the creation of safe walking environments.
“On International Walk to School Day, parents and caregivers both teach and model safe pedestrian behavior,” said Cynthia Dennis, RN, Safe Kids Northeast Florida. “International Walk to School Day is the perfect opportunity for students to learn how to remain injury-free as they walk to and from school, and to enjoy the health benefits of walking. This year, three area schools are hosting events: Sadie Tillis Elementary and Andrew Robinson Elementary Schools in Jacksonville, and Keller Intermediate in Macclenny. Partners include Wolfson Children’s Hospital/Lifeflight, Fed Ex, Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) with the Florida Department of Health, Shands Trauma One, JSO, and AAA.
In celebration of International Walk to School Day, Safe Kids USA is hosting a photo contest on Facebook. The winning images will be those that best represent children walking to school safely. The school that submits the winning photo will receive a $5,000 prize and a visit from Sesame Street’s Grover. The prize money will be spent to further encourage students to walk to school or for the purchase of educational materials that benefit the general student body.
Over a million people worldwide die on roads every year according to the World Health Organization. In May, the United Nations launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety to bring attention to this global epidemic. In the United States (US), according to the National Center for Health Statistics, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14. While the number of child pedestrians injured in traffic crashes are decreasing in the U.S., in 2009, more than 13,000 children, ages 14 and under went to the emergency room and 244 children died from pedestrian-related injuries.
In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way Program in the United States to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities. This year will mark the twelfth yeah anniversary of the program and 189 Safe Kids coalitions and 400 schools across the country will hold more than 1000 local events at elementary schools to teach children how to walk safely and recognize pedestrian dangers.
“FedEx has developed highly advanced safe driving practices over the past 35-plus years, but we are committed to doing more. We helped create the Safe Kids Walk This Way program because we are dedicated to improving child pedestrian safety,” said Rose Flenorl, Manager of FedEx Global Citizenship. “Our team members work hand-in-hand with Safe Kids Northeast Florida to teach Jacksonville children how to stay safer when they walk. Safe Kids Northeast Florida does a wonderful job in our community and we look forward to supporting them as they make walking safer for everyone.”