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BIRMINGHAM (Sept. 27, 2011) - Fall has arrived which means the end of Daylight Savings Time is forthcoming, always a scary time of year for pedestrian safety as more children are walking near daybreak and dusk than any other time of year.
Child safety advocates at Children's of Alabama, Safe Kids Alabama, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham and the Birmingham Fire Department, the Birmingham Highway Safety Office and FedEx are hoping that their pedestrian safety activities held on International Walk To School Day - Wednesday, Oct. 5 - will help to make area children safer pedestrians as well as raise awareness of pedestrians among drivers.
To celebrate the day - a "walk around the block" will be held at 9:30 a.m. at West Center Street Head Start (1712 3rd Street SW). This is the seventh year that these local partners have sponsored activities for International Walk To School Day as part of the Safe Kids Walk This Way program.
So far this year, 20 children have been treated at Children's for a life-threatening injuries related to a pedestrian incident involving a motor vehicle. In the United States, pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 5 to 14. Across the country each year, approximately 625 children ages 0 to 14 are killed and 38,500 sustain nonfatal pedestrian injuries. In 2006, there were 32,590 emergency room visits by children for pedestrian-related injuries.
"This year, we hope that the walk at West Center Head Start will be fun for the children as well as provide them the opportunity to learn about safe walking behaviors," said Julie Farmer, Safe Kids Alabama Coalition co-coordinator."Pedestrian safety is a concern in our community and our hope is that we can teach children to be safer pedestrians in a way they will remember for years to come."
West Center was picked as host of this year's "walk around the block" because of its urban location near heavily trafficked roads.
According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide among young people aged 10-24 years. Each year nearly 400,000 people younger than age 25 die on the world's roads - that's an average of more than 1,000 deaths each day. Most of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries and among vulnerable road users - pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and those using public transport.
This is the twelfth year that Safe Kids USA and FedEx have joined together for the Safe Kids Walk This Way program, which began in the United States in 2000. Through the program, children learn about important behaviors for walking safely. Some important issues include unsafe intersections, barriers to walking, unmarked crossings streets where there are no safe sidewalks and dangerous areas where more than one pedestrian has either been hit or almost injured by a car. Safe Kids Alabama works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. For more information about the risk of child pedestrian injury in the U.S., and other child safety issues, visit www.usa.safekids.org/wtw.
Children's of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children and is one of the 10 busiest pediatric medical centers in the nation. It is a private, not-for-profit hospital that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Ten of its divisions - pulmonology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, urology, neonatology, cancer, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and nephrology-are ranked in the Top 50 Children's Hospital Programs by US News & World Report. For more information, visit www.childrensal.org, facebook.com/childrenshospitalofalabama or twitter.com/ChildrensAL.
• Contact: Rachel Olis, 205-332-7571