Active transportation to school – walking or cycling to get to and from school– has long been known to be an important source of physical activity for children. However, many of today’s parents drive their children to school because they think that it is safe and convenient. Car traffic is linked to more traffic collisions, more greenhouse gas emissions and an overall decrease in children’s levels of physical activity.;

Did you know? 

  • If children walked for all trips of less than one kilometer, they would take an average of 2,238 additional steps per day.
  • Just 1/3 of Canadian children and youth walk or cycle to school
  • Only 7 per cent of 5-11 year olds in Canada meet the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.
  • Children and youth are more at risk for the health effects of poor air quality due to car emissions than adults
  • Help children meet daily physical activity guidelines
  • Allow you and your children to spend more time together
  • Provide you with an opportunity to teach your children about safety skills
  • Save you money
  • Improve your mood
  • Make our streets safer and cleaner

Start by taking “small steps”

  • Walk with your children to school one day per week. If mornings are busy, try parking in a legal spot closer to your child’s school and walking the rest of the way. You can also try walking home from school instead.
  • Talk to your school principal about running walking events like International Walk to School Day or Walking, Wheeling Wednesdays along with Toronto Public Health.

Some “bigger steps” you can take include:

  • Working with other parents to start a walking school bus where you take turns walking your children to and/or from school
  • Talking to your school principal about School Travel Planning with Toronto Public Health.

For more information and other ideas on the activities go to Active & Safe Routes to School website.

Promote walking to school

Toronto Public Health can work with your school community to support active transportation. School Liaison Public Health Nurses can help reinforce knowledge gained from curriculum resources and help to promote physical activity messages to children and youth.