Australia celebrates its 22nd anniversary of ‘National Walk Safely to School Day’ on Friday, 14 May 2021, taking place in all primary schools across the country.
The promising initiative is set to raise community awareness around health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that can enhance the experience of a mere walk to and from school for primary school aged children.
Along with physical benefits, it is also said to boost the cognitive and academic performance of school children.
That being said, primary school aged students are encouraged to include walking in their daily routine each day.
“The extremely disturbing childhood obesity epidemic continues to affect 1 in 4* children at critical levels across Australia” says Harold Scruby, Chairman and CEO of Pedestrian Council of Australia.
“Unless teachers, parents, carers and the community generally get behind this event and its objectives, this number will never decrease. The best exercise for all of us is regular walking. Children require at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity. We should encourage them to include walking at the beginning, during and end of each day”, he adds.
In addition to this annual event, schools and P&Cs are asked to host healthy breakfasts to promote improved diets.
Becoming environmentally positive and better use of public transportation with reduced car-dependency is encouraged.
A vital road safety message, “Until they are 10, children must always hold the hand of an adult when crossing the road” is issued.
Parents and carers are also encouraged to increase walking in order to reduce dangers of traffic congestion around schools thereby minimising the risk of heart diseases and diabetes in Australian children.
The 5 Principal tips for parents to walk their kids to school are:
1. Walk some or if you can, walk all the way to school
2. Get off the bus, train, or tram a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way
3. Leave the car at least 1km away from school and walk the rest of the way
4. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier to fit in a walk to school
5. If you can’t walk in the morning, walk home after school