Three Ways to Make Walking to School Safer

Today, in the United States and in dozens of other countries—including Brazil, Fiji, India, and Turkey—millions of kids are walking to school for International Walk to School Day.

Promoting walking builds lifelong healthy habits, and normalizes walking as part of the family’s lifestyle. But kids can’t reap the benefits of physical activity as they travel to and from school if there are not enough sidewalks or paths for them to walk on, or because they’re breathing polluted air, or because they don’t feel safe.

If kids can take a safe route to school, it can improve their health outcomes, potentially reducing rates of obesity, traffic-related injuries, and even asthma.

Paving the way for kids to walk to and from school safely is especially important because it’s a great way to address the needs of all kids. All children, regardless of what other activities they do or places they go, attend school. When schools promote physical activity by not just allowing but encouraging kids to travel to and from school on foot or on wheels, we’ll do a better job reaching this generation with the lesson of how important it is to be active.

Kids who are active are also more likely to arrive at school focused and ready to learn. It’s a test score-boosting side effect that pays off in better class performance.

Here are some ways to make sure your community provides a safe and healthy environment for kids walking to school not just today, but every day:

Create a “walking school bus”

Some districts or individual schools have organized groups of students who walk together through neighborhoods, sometimes escorted by adult leaders, to get to school. Whether these groups are formally or informally organized, they’re great ways to keep kids safe as they travel.

Stagger school arrival and dismissal times

It’s better to keep kids on foot or bike separate from cars and buses that are arriving to drop off or pick up students. By staggering arrival and departure times, kids that walk or bike can steer clear of traffic and congestion.

Work with local government to create bicycle, pedestrian or trail plans

Whether these plans stand alone or are part of a more comprehensive transportation plan, they can help serve as a guide to communities looking to put in more walking and bike paths through their neighborhoods.

These ideas are included in ChangeLab Solutions' recently released roadmap, which offers 13 policy options to help kids travel to and from school actively and safely.

Do kids in your community walk to school? What changes would make your community a safer and healthier place for kids to be active?

To learn more about ways to put policy in place that helps kids stay active on their way to and from school, check out ChangeLab Solutions’ publications, including Safe Routes to School and Backing Off Bike Bans: The Legal Risks of Banning Bicycling To School. Is your community considering putting a safe routes to school policy in place? Try our brand new interactive policy builder.

Image courtesy of Lydia Daniller/ChangeLab Solutions

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less