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Grant Improves Safety of Kids Walking to School

The end of August usually means one thing for kids: summer is over and it’s back to school. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports on an ongoing effort to improve the safety of kids who walk to school.

For the fifth consecutive year, Springfield has received a 10,000 dollar grant from FedEx Express to improve the safety of children walking to school. Part of the money is going toward bright, neon signs in school zones.

]Daphne Greenlee is the coordinator of Safe Kids Springfield, which helped facilitate the FedEx Express grant for Springfield Public Schools.

Greenlee says a parent of a child walking to school can find the best route by going to the City of Springfield’s website. She says parents should also walk the entire route with the child, pointing out that they should cross only at crosswalks and traffic signals.

She encourages parents to take an active role in teaching their children not only where to walk, but proper pedestrian safety tips.

Greenlee says she also has a message for drivers: slow down whenever you’re near a school. The Safe Kids Website lists a few more child pedestrian safety rules, which parents should talk to their kids about. They include:

1. Cross the street at the corner or at a crosswalk if there is one, and obey all traffic signals.

2. Walk on a sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street, facing oncoming traffic.

3. Walk with an adult until you are at least 10 years old.

4. Only cross in front of a school bus when the driver says it is safe. Do not cross behind the bus or where the driver can’t see you.

5. Hold an adult’s hand when you cross the street. Look left, right and left again before you cross and keep looking both ways until you reach the other side.

6. If you walk when it is dark, wear light-colored clothing or clothing with reflective material so drivers can see you. A flashlight is also a good idea.

7. If a toy or pet goes out into the street, ask an adult for help getting it back.

8. When you are outside playing, play in a backyard or playground away from the street or parking lots.

Also, you can click here for a link to the City of Springfield’s interactive walking route maps for schoolchildren.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.