Using active transportation to get to and from school is good for children and part of a healthy lifestyle. Research shows children who walk or bike to school are better prepared for learning and have improved mental and physical health. Proper supervision, safe environments, hazard awareness, and participating in age-appropriate activities all help reduce the risk of injury to children when they are using active transportation to get to and from school.
Safety research shows young children do not have the mental skills they need to cross the road safely. It is important to teach your child about pedestrian safety when they begin to walk with you.
Teaching your child about pedestrian safety will depend on their development. Your child’s development will change between the ages of 7 and 14. Keep this in mind when teaching your child and match your teaching to their stage of development.
Parents should make sure their children can show you that they know how to
cross the road safely before you let them walk alone to or from school or play unsupervised in your neighbourhood.
Complex skills like balancing the bike, watching for traffic, and paying attention to road signs take training, practice, and time to develop. Children are not ready to cycle alone on the road until they understand road safety rules, know how to signal, and know how to avoid major risks. Parents should make sure children can show you their
bike and road safety skills before allowing them to bike to school on their own.
Active and Safe Routes to School is a not for profit organization that provides community and school resources to promote safe active transportation to school. They can provide you with the guidance and tools you will need to assess your neighbourhoods safety.
Current as of: March 2, 2018
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services
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