TOEPKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Kids across the state are heading back to school this week.
Between buying school supplies, new clothes, and prepping for sports tryouts, there’s a lot to think about this time of year.
Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas, wants to remind families to keep safety a priority for kids of all ages as they return to the classroom.
“We know from the data that while we think about those young kids and elementary school as being at the greatest risk as far as pedestrian injuries and deaths, really those teenage years have now surpassed the death rate,” Sage said.
While there has been a downward trend in pedestrian deaths over the past 20 years nationally, there has been a 13 percent increase among teenage pedestrian deaths since 2013.
One way to improve safety on the way to school is to avoid distractions from smartphones.
“We need to talk to kids about putting their devices down,” Sage said. “This is an issue, and there are kids that are dying. There are real life stories of kids that have stepped out into traffic because they had their headphones on, they were just, you know, distracted.”
Sage emphasizes that it’s not just kids and teens who need to be careful on the roads.
“Drivers also have to be extra vigilant, because throughout the summer, we’ve not seen kids at this specific time of morning, and coming home in the afternoons, so you need to be on alert for school zones. It’s important to just be on alert looking for these kid pedestrians.”
For more tips on how to stay safe this school year, visit safekidskansas.org.