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Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As long as it’s safe, walking or biking to school is a great way for your child to get the exercise they need.
Your child’s age, maturity and skill level, as well as routes and sidewalks, will affect whether this is a safe option or not. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not walk or bike to school unsupervised before 10 years of age, except in limited situations.
If you think your child is ready to walk or bike to school, here are some great tips to help keep them safe while adding some physical activity to their day:
- Plan out a safe route, and stick to it.
- Have kids buddy up with a friend.
- Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
- Respect traffic lights, stop signs and other rules of the road.
- Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility.
- Cross streets safely.
- In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider starting a “walking school bus,” where an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children on their route.
- Teach your child to never stop and talk to strangers.
- Designate safe places to go like a grocery store or friend’s house in case your child needs help.