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Kids Practice Their Walking Beats
by Allan Appel | Oct 3, 2012 4:30 pm
Posted to: Schools, Transportation, Dixwell
Tianni Robbins knew that to be safe you walk with an adult, stick to the crosswalks, look both ways, and wear bright clothing like her shiny pink coat and glowing green boots. She didn’t know that if you have to walk in front of a big truck, drivers can’t see little kids if they’re close to the bumper.
That was one of the potentially life-saving tips second-grader Tianni picked up Wednesday morning as she and another 100 first and second-grade colleagues circumambulated her Wexler/Grant School.
The exercise, called Safe Kids Walk, was organized by the city’s health department and FedEx volunteers under the auspices of Safe Kids Greater New Haven, an the affiliate of Safe Kids Worldwide. Their aim locally is that no New Haven school kid will be among the 250 child pedestrians killed and the 14,000 injured annually across the country.
Wexler/Grant Principal Sabrina Breland accompanied the kids on Wednesday’s walk. She said increasingly distracted drivers posed a risk to her kids, especially when they cross a fast-moving thoroughfare like Dixwell.
At Foote and Dixwell, as she held the hands of one youngster and crossed, Breland said keeping kids alert so they are not dependent on others’ obeying the law is key. “Drivers come only to a rolling stop sometimes,” she said.
Safe Kids officials stressed that the most important person to the safety of a kid is the kid herself. An older kid or an adult accompanying should not be talking on the phone or listening to music, but paying attention to vehicular conditions all around, they emphasized.
Of Wexler/Grant’s 430 kids, Breland said, only 75 to 100 walk to school. But that the safety tips are also key to the many kids who walk to and from their bus stops.
“Two years ago we lost Kyshant Moore,” Breland said. The Wexler-Grant eighth-grader was killed when he was hit riding his bike on Front Street.
Although child pedestrians were the subject of the morning’s work, Breland said road safety for kids in general is always on her mind.
In honor of Kyshant, Wexler/Grant is having a kids-off-the-street Halloween party this year at the school, she added.
City Health Director Dr. Mario Garcia also walked with the kids. He said to his knowledge there have been no school child pedestrian injuries or fatalities during his tenure. Still he said, “We need to raise awareness.”
Then he expanded the context of the exercise: “Walking to school is important to keep kids healthy.”
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Holy blap, this is a great thing to read. My only complaint is the “kids off the street” party. We shouldn’t be ceding the streets to automobiles. We should have more and more kids out there walking around.
The less people need to pay attention, the less walking will be done. Rinse, repeat.