Teens and Clifford the Big Red Dog Team Up for Railroad Safety
Did you know that a child dies every 5 days as a result of being struck by a train? My name is Nohemi Ramos and I am a senior at Silva Magnet High School. My friends and I learned about this statistic through our Safe Kids Rail Safety Service-Learning program. And when we heard the actual stories about the kids who were killed when they were walking too close to the tracks or even taking a selfie, we knew we had to do something about it! We started by sharing the statistics and stories with our peers but we also had the chance to educate elementary school students about rail safety. That’s where the book, Clifford and the Railroad Crossing, came into play. We know that kids learn best when they’re having fun, so sharing a great book like Clifford made it easy to teach all the key tips for staying safe around train tracks. Clifford even inspired my friends and me to get together and create our own children’s book filled with rail safety games so that the kids could learn even more while doing hands-on activities. We presented Clifford and also read our book to children at Cooley Elementary School and it couldn’t have gone better. Our time with the kids went by so fast and they were all having so much fun that before we knew it, they were actually reciting the rail-safety tips back to us. And Clifford isn’t just making a difference in our community. Other teenagers are reading Clifford to kids and using their creativity to keep kids safe in their communities, too. This is important because if we are going to eliminate these preventable injuries and deaths to children and teens, then we all need to work together! So please join us and share these three tips with your friends, neighbors, and family: 1. Cross the tracks only at places marked by a railroad crossing sign, lights or a gate. And look both ways before you cross. 2. Wait for the train. When lights are flashing or the gates are down, wait for the train to pass. Even if you are in a hurry, don’t try to beat the train by rushing across the tracks. 3. Don’t play around, walk on or walk along train tracks. Trains are at least three feet wider than the tracks on either side so even if you are beside the tracks, it is still dangerous. And if you are an educator or community leader and think that Clifford and the Rail Safety Crossing will help raise awareness and educate students in your community, please check out this Rail Safety Station or contact Nadji Kirby at [email protected]! Continue to stay healthy and safe!