Traffic on roadways increases during the morning and afternoon hours during the school year. During the morning and mid-afternoon, millions of students make their way to and from school. Safe Routes to School National Partnership estimates that as much as 20 to 30 percent of all morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to school.
Driving to school may also contribute to the obesity epidemic plaguing the nation's youth. Roughly one in five school-aged children is obese. Canada's Childhood Obesity Foundation notes that childhood overweight and obesity has been steadily climbing. Rates have almost doubled for children between the ages of two and 17.
Families can find healthy ways to transport children to school, and these alternatives can benefit the environment as well.
Walk to school
Walking one mile to and from school each day can fulfill around two-thirds of the 60 minutes of the recommended physical activity for children each day. Considering that recess times are being cut and kids are spending more time indoors or on devices instead of playing outside with friends, walking to school provides much-needed exercise.
Bike to school
Bicycling is another great physical activity and an efficient way to get to school.
When biking to school, students should follow the rules of the road and wear the appropriate safety gear, such as helmets.
Sharing rides to school is another way to cut down on congestion and air pollution. Families can work together to drive students to and from school, sports games and clubs.
Ride the bus
In districts that offer school bus service, students can take advantage of this safe mode of transport. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that traveling by school bus is seven times safer than traveling by car or truck. School buses also reduce the number of cars on the road during peak travel times.
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