International Walk To School Month

Pediatrician in Gastonia, NC

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October has been designated as International Walk To School Month. Regular periods of exercise are even more important for children even more than for adults, since their bones, muscles and habits are still developing. Walking to school is a simple and reliable way to get daily exercise. Pediatricians recommend that children and teenagers spend at least 60 minutes a day being physically active.

Whether your child should be walking to school depends in part on how old he or she is. Pediatricians recommend children not start walking to school alone until about age ten. Instead, you should walk with your child to and from school if you can. In fact, walking with your child in general is a good way to combine healthy exercise with learning about traffic safety.

Helping your community create a safe path

If you live within a mile of a school in the Gastonia, NC area, you may wish to consider letting your child walk to school. The first thing you’ll want to know is if there’s a safe path. Depending on the neighborhoods, the traffic situation and the presence or absence of sidewalks, it might be that you’ll have to make one. This will involve talking with other members of your community, meeting with school and town officials and looking at data from www.saferoutesinfo.org or www.ncsaferoutesconference.org/presentations. If there is at least a potential safe route, make sure your town has crossing guards at the intersections, not just signals — children need adult supervision here.

Another way to keep children safe is to create a “walking school bus” — a larger group of neighborhood parents and children all walking to school at the same time. It’s not absolutely necessary that every parent take part in this. Parents can take turns. Just make sure children know all the parents in the group.

If your children are old enough to walk to school by themselves, pediatricians recommend they walk to school with at least one friend, or in small groups, and that they have bright-colored backpacks and jackets with reflective material. It would also be a good idea to give them some practice crossing the street safely before they have to do it on their own.

Pediatricians in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a center for pediatric medicine conveniently located west of Charlotte, NC. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, has served three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If your family needs a pediatrician, call today.