More than 100 students walked to Daffodil Valley Elementary School on Oct. 9 as part of International Walk to School Day.
Firefighters from East Pierce Fire and Rescue dressed as clowns, and officers from the Sumner Police Department talked to students about the hazards of walking to school and what they need to do in order to stay safe.
Children were told to take notice when there are no sidewalks or crosswalks, and officials talked about the importance of using traffic signals.
“Our children learn by mimicking what they see,” said Dina Sutherland, East Pierce public education specialist. “By walking with them on International Walk to School Day, we can show children how to walk safely.”
Children also were told about the importance of putting down electric devices and looking both ways before they cross streets.
“I think it helped my child know the safest routes to school and how to recognize crosswalks,” said Jessie Morgan, the mother of a Daffodil Valley Elementary student.
The large group of students, parents, firefighters and police officers walked along Washington Street, which is less busy than Main Street.
East Pierce Fire and Rescue, which partnered with the Safe Kids Coalition, chose Sumner because it’s a walkable city. A small grant from the Safe Kids Coalition allowed the fire department to buy T-shirts and signs for the event.
Safe Kids Coalition is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injury.
The Sumner students were among 250,000 children who participated in International Walk to School Day nationwide.
Road traffic injuries are the second-leading cause of death among children ages 5 to 14, according to the World Health Organization. More than 61 children are injured every day, some severely enough to seek medical attention. Nearly 500 children are killed every year, according to the WHO.
East Pierce Fire and Rescue will hold a similar event next spring. The fire department will inform students of how to ride a bike to school safely. An event location has yet to be decided.Jesse Major is a freelance reporter for the Herald.