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Working Towards Safer Roads for Children

May 2, 2013
Global Road Safety Week

Once kids take their first steps, they can't wait to keep going. But when it comes to walking to the park or school along roads, it can be a challenge for kids to safely get to where they need to go.

This week marks the second annual United Nations Global Road Safety Week and an important opportunity to highlight how to keep kids safe on roads.

Every 90 seconds, a young person under the age of 25 is killed in a road traffic crash around the world. That's more than 1,000 young people every day. And road traffic injuries kill more kids between ages 5-14 than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria.

But this is a problem we can fix.

Global Road Safety Week is part of a Decade of Action for Road Safety, a United Nations initiative, which aims to save 5 million lives between 2011 and 2020. This year, the focus is on improving pedestrian safety.

Too often, getting to and from school is a dangerous journey for kids. This is true both in the United States and around the world, especially in areas that don't have sidewalks or paths, and where walkers share the roadways with motor vehicles.

Yet something as simple as a sidewalk can reduce the number of people hit along the road by nearly 90 percent.

To help improve pedestrian safety around the world, Safe Kids Worldwide and FedEx are teaming up to make routes safer for kids walking to and from school.

Through the Model School Zone project, Safe Kids is working with 10 schools in 10 countries (Brazil, Canada, China, India, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam) to improve roads and signage around schools, educate drivers and families and build partnerships with governments in order to make school zones safer for kids.

We're working with local and national governments, NGOs, and communities to improve walking and riding conditions for kids. In the United States, we're teaching families how to walk safely with important tips for walkers and drivers, helping kids and parents learn how to limit distraction and get to where they need to go safely.  

We're also working to keep kids safe in cars by educating families about the importance of using car seats, booster seats and seat belts and making sure to buckle up for every ride.

Help us spread the word to keep kids safe on the road. Learn more about what you can do today.

Jen Pollakusky is a media manager for Safe Kids Worldwide, based in Washington, D.C.