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About Sickkids
About SickKids

November 2, 2009

Teaching children about railway crossing safety at an early age provides tools to protect them for a lifetime

Safe Kids Canada, the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children, and CN today launched Safe Crossing Week 2009, a national education campaign focused on keeping Canadian children safe at railway crossings and away from trains. From November 1 to 7, about 80,000 students in elementary schools across Canada will learn about safety at railway crossings in their classrooms with educational material developed by partners Safe Kids Canada and CN.

In 2008, there were 287 accidents that resulted in 56 serious injuries and 73 fatalities in Canada in railway grade crossing and trespassing incidents, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Statistics for the first five months of 2009 show a 25 percent increase in the number of crossing and trespasser fatalities year-to-date: 30 from January to May 2009, compared to 24 during the same period in 2008.

Safe Kids Canada and CN recognize that education is a critical prevention strategy, and teaching children about safe railway crossing and about the danger of trespassing on railway property can help reduce death and serious injuries. Safe Crossing Week 2009's theme, Teaching Safety for Life, recognizes the vital role education plays in saving lives and that children who learn about crossing safety at an early age acquire the tools to protect them for a lifetime.

“Schools play an important role in teaching children about a broad range of health and safety issues and, for that reason, they are major partners in Safe Crossing Week,” says Pamela Fuselli, executive director of Safe Kids Canada. “To build a culture of safety, we must teach children early, and repeat teaching as they grow and develop skills so that safe practices and behaviours become second nature as they become teenagers and adults.”

Across Canada and the United States, teachers and CN employees will teach rail safety in classrooms, and CN Police officers will conduct trackside classrooms and assemblies to more than 130,000 students, making it the largest and most wide-spread Safe Crossing Week in history. Seventeen children's hospitals and two museums have also come on board to hold special events to further broaden the reach of the program.

Schools will use an online Safe Crossing toolkit to teach students how to be safe at railway crossings and tracks. The material includes school certificates; lesson plans and classroom activities incorporating rail safety into language and reading, science and technology, social science, health and physical education, and citizenship and government classes for kindergarten to Grade 6 students; poster; student activity booklets; and interactive web-based teaching tools.

Parents are encouraged to take part by using the online tools to help them initiate dialogue with their children. These tools include a parent fact sheet, Staying Safe Around Trains activity booklet for kids, and lots of kid-friendly resources and fun activities to engage children in learning.

To access teaching tools for Safe Crossing Week 2009, teachers and parents can visit www.safekidscanada.ca or call 1-888-SAFE-TIPS (1-888-723-3847).