In the past, most children started their day with healthy exercise by walking or bicycling to school. Today, only 13 percent of all trips to school are made by walking or biking. In an effort to promote the community benefits of walking, Bernalillo County SAFE KIDS Coalition and the UNM Department of Emergency Medicine have organized Walk Our Children to School Day on Friday, September 28.

The event will be held at La Mesa Elementary School, 7500 Copper Ave. N.E. Beginning at 8 a.m., Mayor Jim Baca and David Sklar, M.D., chairman of Emergency Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine, will participate with other community leaders in the walk to school.

Walk Our Children to School Day is sponsored nationally by the Partnership for a Walkable America and locally by the New Mexico Traffic Safety Bureau. The purpose for the event is to encourage regular daily walking for health as well as provide an opportunity for adults to teach children about pedestrian safety and initiate changes in communities to make them safer for walking.

"Pedestrian injuries have become the second leading cause of unintentional death among children age 5 to 14," said Jamie Michael, Bernalillo County SAFE KIDS coordinator. "Children are particularly vulnerable to pedestrian death because they are exposed to traffic threats that exceed their cognitive, developmental, physical and sensory ability. Parents often overestimate their children's pedestrian skills."

La Mesa Elementary School has the highest walk-to-school rate of any A.P.S. elementary school. Over 700 students walk to class every day. Speed humps, traffic diversion islands and signs changes that were influenced by the community have helped calm traffic, making it safer for children to walk to school.

The UNM Center for Injury Prevention, the NM Traffic Safety Bureau, Bernalillo County SAFE KIDS and AAA New Mexico are local sponsors of Walk Our Children to School Day. Schools in Los Alamos, Las Cruces and Jemez Pueblo will also participate in the event.


Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322