Short article on new research from VicHealth

Parents fears stop kids walking to school

October 19, 2010 – 7:59AM


Parental fears of crime and traffic were the most common barriers to allowing their children to walk to school, a survey has found.

A VicHealth survey of 1,500 people revealed 63 per cent believed parents should not let primary school aged children move around their neighbourhoods unsupervised.

The survey was released by VicHealth on the eve of Walktober Walk-to-school Day – an event that promotes the benefits of walking to school.

It found that 43 per cent of parents with children under the age of 18 believed there was a high risk a child would be abducted by a stranger if allowed to walk around their neighbourhood alone.

Sixty two per cent of parents believed there was too much traffic on the roads.

The survey found that country residents believed children should not walk unaccompanied to school until the age of 11 and city parents said 11-and-a-half.

VicHealth chief executive Todd Harper said these fears should not stop children from getting the exercise they needed.

“The real risk of child abduction is extremely low, yet many parents believe there is a high risk,” he said.

“We can’t allow this mistaken belief to stop our kids getting the exercise they need.”

Schools involved last year’s Walktober Walk-to-School Day reported that only one in five students regularly walk to school.

Last year 71,678 Victorian primary school children took part in Walktober Walk-to-School Day.

© 2010 AAP


About Julie Rudner

With great excitement for the adventure we were about to go on, my mother would shout out, "We're off to see the Wizard"! It didn't matter if we were going to the shops for milk, the museum or a holiday. My mum focused on the joy of the everyday, knowing that if we engaged with life, we would always find something new and positive. With great animation my dad would explain the workings of things and how to pull things apart, put them back together, and if the situation called for it, make something new. My sister and I were taught to evaluate situations, make our decisions, and reap the consequences (both good and bad). We were encouraged to push our boundaries and not let fear prevent us from pursuing our dreams. Importantly, we learned to pick ourselves up, learn from our 'failures', and use our valuable lessons to build our confidence, independence and strength in ourselves.
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