Activities for Kids Highlight the Importance of a Safe Walk to School

10th Annual Event Happens October 7th at Sunset Elementary

Safe Kids Spokane and FedEx volunteers will lead local activities as part of International Walk to School Day 2009. More than 350 children from Sunset Elementary School in Airway Heights will participate in this year's event as part of the Safe Kids "Walk This Way" program. The activities last from 7:30–8:30 am, at Sunset Elementary School, 12824 W. 12th, Airway Heights.

"Walking is an important and healthy activity, and everyone needs to do their part to keep kids safe," said Dr. Joel McCullough, Health Officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. "This event brings community volunteers and children's advocates together to help kids have a safer walk to school."

On Oct. 7, 2009 Safe Kids coalitions across the country will hold more than 600 International Walk to School Day activities. In addition to highlighting pedestrian safety, the coalitions will spotlight walkability issues in their community.  Safety issues are a common concern for parents, and working with neighbors and community officials, parents can help create safer routes to school.

2009 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Safe Kids Walk This Way pedestrian safety program and the partnership with program sponsor FedEx. Volunteers from Safe Kids Spokane and the Airway Heights Police and Fire Departments will teach children from Sunset Elementary how to be safe pedestrians as they walk to and from school on International Walk to School Day.

Children who do not get enough physical activity are at risk for a variety of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Walking and biking to school can be a major source of children getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The decline in walking and bicycling has had a negative effect on traffic congestion and air quality around schools, further endangering the health of students. Because safety issues are often the reason that more than 50% of children are driven to school, developing safe routes to school is key to increasing the numbers of children walking or biking to school.

Safe Kids Spokane, the Spokane Regional Health District, FedEx, American Medical Response and Sacred Heart Children's Hospital Join Together on International Walk to School Day to support this event.

Safe Kids Spokane, lead by the Spokane Regional Health District works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Spokane is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury.