Event promotes child safety around railroad tracks

Parents urged to share five tips for safety around rail lines
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Officials pose at a recent event at Metra's Elmhurst, Ill., station to promote child safety around railroad tracks.
Union Pacific

ELMHURST, Ill. — Following a recent multi-agency event to raise child awareness of safety around railroad tracks, parents are being encouraged to share five safety tips with their children.

The Sept. 27 event at the Metra station in Elmhurst, Ill., part of National Rail Safety Week, involved Union Pacific, Metra, the DuPage Railroad Safety Council, the City of Elmhurst, Safe Kids Worldwide, National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy, and state representative Deanne Mazzochi.

Information booths featured materials for parents and recommendations on the best ways to talk about the issue with their children. Also in attendance was Clifford the Big Red Dog, posing for photos and distributing free copies of his book “Clifford and the Railroad Crossing.”

The five tips parents are urged to share, and to follow themselves, include:

— Only cross the tracks at a designated railroad crossing, marked by a sign or lights and gates.

— If lights are flashing or the gate is down at a railroad crossing, wait for the train to pass completely and the gate to go back up before crossing. It is never okay to try and beat the train.

— Don’t be tempted to walk on or along the tracks. Trains are at least three feet wider than the tracks on either side.

— A train can take up to a mile to stop. By the time the locomotive engineer sees someone or something on the tracks ahead, it is too late to stop.

— If you are using a cell phone, headphones or playing a game, remember: heads up, devices down when you cross the tracks.

A recent report, “Railroads: An Often-Overlooked Danger to Children,” found parents do not generally rate the issue as a major safety concern for themselves or their child; those who live near railroad tracks are only slightly more likely to see it as a problem. The full report is available at the Safe Kids Worldwide website.

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