Children’s of Alabama, The Regional Planning Commission, The Alabama Department of Transportation, FedEx and Safe Kids Alabama Team Up to Educate Childdren About Pedestrian Safety

• Contact: Rachel Olis, 205-332-7571 or rachel.olis@childrensal.org

BESSEMER (Oct. 9, 2013) — Child safety advocates at Children’s of Alabama, The Regional Planning Commission, The Alabama Department of Transportation, FedEx and Safe Kids Alabama are hoping that their pedestrian safety activities held on International Walk to School Day – Wednesday, Oct. 9 – will help to make area children safer pedestrians as well as raise awareness of pedestrians among drivers.

To celebrate the day – a “walking school bus” was held at J.S. Abrams Elementary School. Safety experts and school representatives from Abrams walked around the school picking up kids and showing them the safest way to walk to school. This is the ninth year that local partners have sponsored activities for International Walk to School Day.

Abrams Elementary was picked as host of this year’s “walking school bus” after agreeing to be a part of the Safe Routes to School program for the first time this year.

When asked why it is important to teach children pedestrian safety, Marie Crew, the Coordinator of Safe Kids Alabama said, “Unfortunately, every year we have children injured and killed by vehicles that inadvertently hit them when they are crossing the street.”

“New studies show that children earlier and earlier are using music devices and cell phones when they are walking and that has become a big distraction,” Crew said.

So far this year, 24 children have been treated at Children’s of Alabama for a trauma related to a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle. Two of those traumas were fatal. A trauma is defined as a life-changing or life-altering injury. The Emergency Department at Children’s of Alabama treated and released many other pedestrian injuries that were not serious enough to meet the criteria for activation of the trauma team. In the United States, pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 5 to 14. Across the country each year, approximately 626 children ages 0 to 14 are killed and 38,500 sustain nonfatal pedestrian injuries. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 61 kids are hit by cars in the United States every day and every one of those injuries is preventable.

According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide among young people aged 10-24 years. Each year nearly 400,000 people younger than age 25 die on the world’s roads – that’s an average of more than 1,000 deaths each day. Most of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and among vulnerable road users –pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and those using public transport.

This is the 11th year that Safe Kids USA and FedEx have joined together for the Safe Kids Walk This Way program, which began in the United States in 2000. Through the program, children learn about important behaviors for walking safely. Some important issues include unsafe intersections, barriers to walking, unmarked crossings streets where there are no safe sidewalks and dangerous areas where more than one pedestrian has either been hit or almost injured by a car. Safe Kids Alabama works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. For more information about the risk of child pedestrian injury in the U.S., and other child safety issues, visit http://www.usa.safekids.org/wtw.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children since 1911, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Last year, families made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 41 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. and has been ranked among the top children’s hospital programs in the country for the past four years by US News & World Report. More information is available at http://www.childrensal.org.

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