WASHINGTON — To encourage educators, parents and caregivers to teach children that trains and railroad tracks may be dangerous places, Safe Kids USA and Canadian National are launching Safe Crossing Week, which begins today and runs through Nov. 18.
Each year in the United States, an average of 916 people are killed and 8,300 are seriously injured in collisions with trains in the United States. In 2005, a total of 39 children aged 15 and under were killed in an incident involving a train. According to the two safety partners, education is key to preventing these injuries.
CN created the Safe Crossing Program as a one-day event in 2005 and by 2006 it became Safe Crossing Week, involving hundreds of elementary schools across Canada and reaching millions of people through the media. This is the first year that Safe Crossing Week is being held in the United States.
“Education plays a key role in preventing injuries, and the work we do now with young children will have a positive impact on their behavior as they grow older,” said Chrissy Cianflone, rail safety program manager at Safe Kids USA. “Once kids learn the rules, they have the tools to help them be safe when they are around railroad tracks and property.”
This year, about 100 elementary schools will be participating in Safe Crossing Week, and thousands of children will be reached in communities across the United States.
“Safe Crossing Week is unique because it encourages teachers to easily incorporate rail safety lessons into their everyday curriculum, from math and science to physical education classes,” said Bobby Walker, chief of CN Police. “The fact that so many schools are coming on board shows that educators are committed to the safety issue, and we are pleased to see that.”
CN Police officers will also be visiting elementary schools to talk to students about the potential danger of walking and playing on or near railroad tracks and property.
Participating schools received a Safe Crossing Week package, which includes a Safe Crossing school certificate; lesson plans incorporating rail safety into language, math, social sciences and physical education classes for kindergarten to Grade 6 students; Safe Crossing Week posters; student activity booklets; parent letters and fact sheets; and interactive web-based teaching tools.
Children and parents are also invited to visit Obie’s website, a fun-filled and interactive site featuring an animation of CN’s real-life safety train, Little Obie, which encourages kids to get on board online at http://www.cn.ca/obie.
To stay safe near railroad tracks, parents and children need to follow these simple rules:
- Always cross at a railroad crossing with lights, gates and/or the crossbuck sign;
- Listen for the warning bell and train whistles;
- Look both ways before crossing the tracks;
- If one train passes, make sure that a second train is not approaching on the same or another track; and
- Walking or playing on or near tracks is dangerous and can be illegal.
To learn more about Safe Crossing Week, visit www.usa.safekids.org/rail