Is Walking to School Still Safe for Kids?

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As back-to-school season approaches, the age-old question has occurred to many parents. Is walking to school safe for children? Let’s take a look at the safety tips and recommendations from the experts to answer that question.

How Far Do They Need to Go?

The first consideration when thinking about whether it’s safe to allow your children to walk to school is how far they need to walk.

Walking five minutes around the block is actually pretty safe, especially in broad daylight. However, if your children would need to walk more than twenty minutes from the house to get to school, the walk might be more dangerous than simply giving them a ride or arranging for bus transportation.

Other conditions in your neighborhood could also contribute to the safety (or lack thereof) of walking to school. For instance, if the kids need to cross a busy street to get to school, you shouldn’t just let them walk.

Even if the school is close, the presence of a four- or even six-lane road would make it extremely dangerous for them to cross. That is, of course, unless there is a crossing guard on duty who could safely escort the children across the street!

What’s the Neighborhood Like?

It should go without saying, but if your neighborhood is quiet and peaceful, then walking to school is probably pretty safe. Things like sidewalks, small amounts of traffic, and numerous houses along the way all contribute to making a walk to school that much safer.

After all, if the kids are on the sidewalk and visible from nearby homes, then the odds are good that they’ll be just fine making a short walk around the corner. Likewise, if you know your neighborhood has a problem with crime, you’d be better off not letting them walk.

Don’t Forget the Weather

If it’s nice out, like in the late summer or throughout the fall, it’s likely safe enough to allow your children to walk to school. However, as the weather gets colder in the Winter, it might be better to default to giving them a ride to school or having them take the school bus. After all, cold weather is a huge threat to safety.

This also goes for the weather. If it’s pouring rain or snowing heavily, it’s not a good idea to let kids walk to school. The inclement weather can make it harder for them to find their way, or even make it harder for passing motorists to see them crossing the street.