Walk to School!
Road traffic has grown by 80% and the number of children travelling to school in cars has doubled over the past 20 years. There’s concern that this trend is contributing to reduced physical activity in children and an increase in childhood obesity levels, urban congestion, and air pollution.The school run accounts for a large proportion of rush-hour traffic. Here are some of the key benefits of taking to your feet instead:
Soaring rates of childhood obesity and illnesses such as type 2 diabetes associated with this can be prevented through a healthy dose of walking. In fact, walking helps protect the body from many serious illnesses later on in life. On average around half of all children do not do the minimum one hour a day of physical activity recommended by the Health Education Authority. A brisk walk to school can help them get their daily exercise and arrive at school or home, refreshed and energised.
Walking can have a positive effect on a child’s emotional wellbeing. It can encourage independence, road sense and be an opportunity to chat with friends.
The average school run releases 800g of CO2 into the air – enough to inflate over 60 balloons.
Encouraging your child to walk to school will save you money on transport and fuel.alking to school dos and don'ts
- It is up to you as a parent to decide when your child is old enough to walk to school alone or with friends. Make sure your child is familiar with the route and keeps in contact with you.
- Children learn from example so model excellent road safety awareness and they will follow suit.
- Check footwear is comfortable and appropriate for walking. You could bring trainers for the walk and children could change their shoes once at school.
- Make sure your child’s school bag isn’t too heavy as this can cause postural problems.
- If you live far from the school you could try driving part of the way, parking up and walking the rest.
- Make walking fun and enjoyable for your child. Chat about the local surroundings, and encourage your child to talk about their school day. Combine the walk home with a visit to the local park, playground or duck pond. Take the dog with you.
- Find out if there are any schemes in your local area such as “walking buses” groups of school children chaperoned by two adults (a 'driver' and a 'conductor') and operating just like a regular school bus – collecting children and taking them to school – but all on foot!