For Immediate Release
October 10, 2001
Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215
Teach Children To Walk To School Safely
(Brampton) - Each year, approximately 115 Canadian children are killed and more than 1,000 are hospitalized as a result of pedestrian injuries. As children return for a new school year, Peel Health wants to remind parents to take time to teach their children how to walk to and from school safely.
"The five to nine year old age group is considered to be most at risk for pedestrian fatalities," says Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. "Children are more often pedestrians, and their exposure to traffic increases when their road skills are still developing."
Tips for keeping kids safe
- Get help crossing the street. Children under age nine need to be accompanied by an adult or older child.
- Five Steps to Safely Cross the Street. Teach children to:
- Look both ways
- Listen for cars
- Wait until the street is clear and all cars have stopped
- Make eye contact with drivers
Obey crossing signals. Children should recognize these signals, but not rely on them. Teach children to check for traffic in all directions every time they cross. Be extra alert at intersections without lights. Drivers may not be paying attention at these intersections, and because kids are small it makes them harder to see. Teach children to pay special attention to traffic at these intersections. Cross only if clear. Whenever possible, children should always cross the street at corners or pedestrian crosswalks. Sidewalks are safest. In areas without sidewalks, teach children to walk as far away from the road as they can and to walk facing approaching traffic.
"Understanding traffic is a complicated process that requires quick decision-making," says Janette Smith, Director of Healthy Lifestyles for the Region of Peel. "Learning how to interact safely with cars develops with time and patience, and when promoted consistently, pedestrian safety rules become second nature."
Did you know?
- Young children can't see out of the corner of their eyes as well as adults can. They aren't able to use information from their peripheral field of vision.
- Children's sense of perception is different than that of adults. They may think large cars move more quickly than smaller cars, or narrow streets are less dangerous than wider ones.
- Children have trouble judging how fast a vehicle is coming towards them or just how far away a vehicle is.
- Children like to keep moving! As a result, they have trouble waiting for stoplights to change or for cars to stop at crosswalk before they step out onto the road.
- Children's small stature causes visibility problems for both children themselves and drivers who may not see them.
- Children may simply believe grown-ups will look out for them. They think that if they can see an adult driving a car toward them, the driver must be able to see them.
For more information, contact Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700 or visit the Region's Web site at www.region.peel.on.ca
Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail
Web site: http://www.region.peel.on.ca
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