5042.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 9:18 AM

Abstract #10722

Safe Walk to School? What Kids Have to Say

Diane G. Winn, RN, MPH, Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH, Craig L. Anderson, DHSc, PhD, and Bernadette Vargas. Health Policy and Research, University of Califoria, Irvine, 100 Theory, Suite 110, Irvine, CA 92697-5800, 949-824-7410, dgwinn@uci.edu

The high number of child pedestrian injuries prompted several Santa Ana schools to participate in Walk a Child to School Day and have children complete surveys to determine what made walking difficult or unsafe. This analysis was done to determine the utility of children’s walkability surveys for identifying pedestrian safety issues. Surveys (64% Spanish, 36% English) were completed by 1532 children at 8 schools. 71% of children reported they usually walk or bicycle to school. 65% indicated a problem in one or more walkability areas. Specific problem areas were 43% not easy to cross streets, 30% drivers did not behave well, 36% walk unpleasant, and 35% not enough room to walk. Responses significantly differed by school for ease of street crossing and not having enough room to walk (Chi sq <.005). Children whose walk was > 15 minutes were significantly more likely to identify problems with drivers’ behavior and find the walk unpleasant.(Chi sq <.05) The most frequently cited problems were: 1. drivers not yielding to pedestrians crossing streets; 2. too much traffic; 3. need striped crosswalks or traffic signals; 4. discontinuous sidewalks/paths; 5. driving too fast; and, 6. unfriendly dogs. In conclusion, among a group of children who walked to school and completed walkability surveys, several issues were identified which can assist in setting priorities and targeting interventions for preventing child pedestrian injuries. The level of walking by children in this community should be promoted for the health benefits and be accompanied by changes to make the environment safer.

Learning Objectives: Recognize usefulness of walkability surveys Identify limitations of walkability surveys Discuss implications of findings for interventions

Keywords: Pediatrics, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA