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Take time to walk
Walk to School Day offers lessons for us all
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The Barton County Commission heard a report Monday morning on the Built Environment and Outdoors Summit that took place in mid-September in Wichita. The annual event covered ideas for and efforts to improve community infrastructures and healthy food options to better community health.
The timing is appropriate.
Wednesday marks International Walk to School Day and schools across Kansas are participating to encourage students to walk or bike to school. 
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get physically active, especially when you can incorporate it into your everyday routine. Just ask the folks at Riley Elementary School in Great Bend who are participating in the Walking School Bus program.
In addition, Walk to School day is also an opportunity to talk about safety – how to be safe on sidewalks and roadways.
According to the Kansas Safe Kids Coalition, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Teenagers are now at greatest risk.
Teens have a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths. So, when you talk to your children about being safe pedestrians, don’t forget to include your teenagers and talk about how distractions, such as texting, playing portable video games, or listening to music, can put you at risk. Remind them to put the technology down and pay attention when around vehicles.
Drivers, too, must be vigilant. They must be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones and be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
Safe Kids Kansas also encourages parents to get out and walk along with their children. “It is one thing to tell students about pedestrian safety, but it’s even better to show them,” said Cherie Sage, state director of Safe Kids Kansas. “Walk with them and identify hazards along the way, act as role models for making good choices, and give them the tools to be safer pedestrians.”
This can foster a lifelong passion for exercise, teach safe behaviors and offer a chance for interaction with our children in a positive setting.
Truly a win, win, win situation.
Dale Hogg