Walking to school has many benefits, not only is it good for your health and the environment, but it’s also fun and a great opportunity to socialise with your child, so why not try and include a ten minute walk in your journey to school.
Walking with young children
- Young children should always hold the hand of a responsible older person when walking near traffic.
- Go to the roadside near your home and kneel down so you are the same height as your child.
- Ask your child what they can actually see or hear from their point of view.
- Children can’t judge traffic and may not understand speed and distance.
- Follow the Green Cross Code
Teach your child how to do the following (and explain why they need to):
- Walk on the footpath, close to the houses and away from the road.
- Look and listen for traffic at driveways (some driveways are difficult to see).
- Use pedestrian crossings or cross at traffic signals, wherever possible.
- Walk facing oncoming traffic on roads where there are no footpaths.
- If a vehicle is blocking the footpath, show them the following steps:
- Check inside the vehicle to see if there’s a driver.
- If you can see a driver, stop a couple of metres away and wait to see if they are going to move.
- If you can’t see a driver, look and listen for signs the vehicle may move soon:
- exhaust fumes
- reversing lights
- engine noise.
- If there’s no driver in the car and the engine isn’t running, walk around the vehicle on the house side
- If there’s no room on the house side, walk carefully around on the road side, looking and listening for traffic from all directions. Or go back and find a safe place to cross the road using the Green Cross Code
The benefits of walking to school
- Children need at least 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity every day. The journey to and from school is an ideal time for children and other family members to be active.
- According to the NHS, 9 out of 10 children could grow up with life threatening diseases such as cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease partly because they aren’t getting enough exercise
- Children who generally travel to and from school by car, bus or other vehicle are more likely to be overweight at age five than those who walk or cycle.
- Physically active children are more alert and ready to learn.
- It’s free!
- Walking to school instead of driving saves, on average, £400-£600 per year.
- Walking can help develop independence. Children will learn road safety skills which will help them with the journey to secondary school later in life.
- Children who walk to school have better knowledge of their local area and get to spend more time with their class mates: In a study by Living Streets, 84 per cent of the children who walked to school often meet up with classmates on the way to school, while only 66 per cent of those who were driven to school had the opportunity to do so.
- People in cars regularly suffer three times as much pollution as pedestrians because they are sitting in the line of the exhaust fumes from the car in front.
- One person switching five journeys of fewer than 2 km a week from the car to walking would reduce their carbon footprint by 86 kg a year.
- Walking to school means fewer cars on the road at peak times reducing congestion making the school gates a safer place
- Increases good relationships with the school and local residents by reducing inconsiderate parking
- Walking Improves local air quality