Walk to School Day promotes pedestrian safety, active lifestyle

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Wednesday is International Walk to School Day, aiming to make the walk to class safer for kids and to get more kids moving.

Students from nearly 5,000 schools across the country are participating, including many in the East.

Hundreds of kids in the area walk to school every day, but people don’t always follow warning signs like crosswalks and school zone speed limits. So while kids are walking to school, drivers need to be on the lookout not just Wednesday, but always.

Part of the initiative is to create safer routes so kids can walk to school. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages three to 14 worldwide. That’s according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Active Routes to School Coordinator Taylor Cabaniss says the day is also about creating more opportunities.

“We partner with the department of transportation and so we can kind of give them an idea of things we need to do to make it safer for the kids to walk to and from school,” Cabaniss said.

291 schools in North Carolina are participating, including several in Pitt and Craven Counties.

Cabaniss says her goal is to increase the number of kids who meet state requirements for physical activity.

“It’s like 60 minutes a day for kids to be physically active. If you have a 15 minute walk to school, 15 minute walk from school, that’s 30 minutes. Hopefully they can get the other 30 minutes at gym or recess or at home playing with their friends,” Cabaniss said.

Some schools in the East even use what they call a walking school bus, where parents lead kids walking to school. Cabaniss encourages more parents who live in neighborhoods close to schools to look into this.

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