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FOR RELEASE: October 2, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

Oklahoma Safe Kids Coalition Responds to New National Report on Child Pedestrian Safety

Child pedestrians are still at great risk of being seriously injured or killed, despite a sharp decline in the death rate during the last 10 years, according to a report issued by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.

“Walking is an essential part of a child’s health and well-being. Every child who lives close enough to school should have the privilege of walking there safely,” said Martha Collar, coordinator of the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Report to the Nation on Child Pedestrian Safety, an analysis of current pedestrian injury research and data from 1990 to 2000, was released in recognition of International Walk to School Day on Oct. 2. Among the key points reported: more than 700 children ages 14 and under died from pedestrian-related injuries in 1999, making it the third leading cause of preventable injury-related death among kids. The report also indicated that elementary school-age children, especially boys, are being injured disproportionately, and that after school and dusk are the most dangerous times for children who walk.

In Oklahoma in 2001, there were 8 pedestrians, age 15 and under, killed on Oklahoma streets and roads. Another 148 children received non-fatal injuries as pedestrians.

Parents who want to examine the walking conditions in their own neighborhoods can download a walkability check from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign’s Web site at www.safekids.org or contact the Oklahoma coalition for a copy, 405-271-5695.

In Oklahoma City, the SAFE KIDS Coalition has spearheaded a year-round school pedestrian safety committee at Stand Watie Elementary School, serving as a model for other schools. The committee has worked to fix environmental dangers near the school and educate drivers and pedestrians about safe behaviors.

Members of the SAFE KIDS Coalition, and volunteers from FedEx Express and Stand Watie have teamed up for Walk to School Day to highlight pedestrian safety issues and continue efforts to fix environmental dangers. Students, teachers and volunteers will conduct a walk and an assembly at the school on Oct. 2.

To learn more about International Walk to School Day activities being held in your community, visit www.safekids.org or www.walktoschool.org .

International Walk to School Day is dedicated to walking to school with a purpose -- to promote physical activity, safety, health and concern for the environment. International Walk to School Day is promoted nationally by the Partnership for a Walkable America. www.walktoschool.org .

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