Community leaders walk to school with Haysville Elementary students to promote safe walking habits

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HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KAKE) -

Safe Kids Wichita Area, FedEx volunteers, Police officers, and firefighters walked together with children at Rex Elementary School Wednesday morning to advocate for safer walking environments for school children. 

The kids might be little, but they're big steps ahead when it comes to staying safe.  

 "I look for the stop signs, use the lights over there, push the button, probably be with a buddy too," said one student from Rex Elementary School, "It's really safe for us because a lot of people walk to school all the time in Haysville so it's really a honor for us to do this, because it's safer."

"The goal that we have with the kids is that they understand that it's fun to walk to school, it's good exercise for them, they can be safe by doing it," said Lieutenant Lenny Rose with The Wichita Police Department. 

 "It actually improves school behavior because the kids have expended some energy walking here," said Rex Elementary Principal Laura Rogers. 

While school officials agree that walking to school can be a great start to the day, they realize it's dangerous. Every day in the United States, at least 40 kids are hit by cars.

According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are the second-leading cause of death among children ages 5 to 14 worldwide. Safe Kids Wichita Area and FedEx are working together to raise awareness, promote pedestrian safety, create safer routes for walking and bicycling to school. 

While they're doing all they can to teach little ones about looking both ways and being careful, drivers need to be more aware. 

"Make sure that they understand the crosswalks, they're paying attention to the speed limit signs, and they're just always on the lookout especially around the schools," said Rose. 

Roughly 500 schools across the nation took part in National Walk to School Day, using the opportunity to teach thousands of kids about staying safe.                                                 

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