Union Pacific, Safe Kids Worldwide and the children’s animated TV series "Chuggington" renewed their nationwide partnership, sharing a series of resources designed to raise awareness, educate families and prevent rail-related injuries and deaths involving children.
“Children of all ages love trains,” said Dan Blank, chief safety officer, Union Pacific. “It’s important for them to understand railroad tracks are not a place to play, nor should they be used as a shortcut. Our goal is to embed these behaviors at a young age and, ultimately, create lifelong habits that are as ingrained as looking both ways before crossing the street.”
Between 2011 and 2020, more than 680 children died and more than 2,000 children were injured as a result of a rail-related injury nationwide. Approximately 94% of all rail-related fatalities and injuries occur at railroad crossings or due to trespassing. Nearly all are preventable.
Safe Kids and "Chuggington," with support from Union Pacific, have developed resources and materials to educate parents, teens and children about the importance of rail safety.
The goal? To create a community of rail safety advocates.
Safe Kids Worldwide ‘Rail Safety Station’ Has Resources to Help
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“Rail Safety Station" is an online hub of sharable content for educators, community partners, parents and caregivers providing customized resources, including lesson plans, fact sheets, downloadable activity sheets, a research report, outreach templates, tips, videos and avenues to share personal stories.
Did You Know?
- Trains are at least three feet wider than the tracks on either side.
- Modern trains are quieter than people might think.
- Once a train starts to brake, it can take up to a mile for the train to completely stop.
Have Little Railroaders? ‘Chuggington’ Stars Share Safety Stories with Young Rail Fans
The stars of "Chuggington," an animated TV series following the adventures of train engines Wilson, Koko and Brewster, highlight key rail safety messages for kids and their families on how to stay safe around trains and railroad tracks:
- Don’t Walk Along Train Tracks. Walking near or on tracks is against the law.
- Only Cross Railroad Tracks at Marked Crossings. Crossings are marked by a crossbuck, lights or a gate. Look both ways before you cross.
- Wait for Trains to Pass. When lights are flashing or the gates are down, do not try to beat the train by rushing across tracks. Trains can take up to a mile to stop.
In partnership with Union Pacific, the “Chuggington” Rail Safety Resource Hub provides a variety of resources delivering safety content for young rail fans, including a guided rail safety PSA; a dedicated website featuring a Rail Safety Pledge; and a variety of downloadable activity sheets for parents, teachers and schools.
“Chuggington” campaign resources also are available on GoNoodle, a platform widely used in schools and homes across the U.S., featuring targeted outreach to teachers.
“Every five days, a child is killed in a train collision; nearly every tragedy is preventable,” said Torine Creppy, president, Safe Kids Worldwide.
In 2020, 55% of crossing incidents occurred at crossings with active warning devices, and 24% of incidents were the result of drivers going around or through the crossing while warning devices were activated.
“One way to prevent serious injuries is to educate parents and communities with the lifesaving information they need to protect their kids,” said Creppy. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with Union Pacific and ‘Chuggington’, providing resources for children of all ages to encourage safe behavior around trains and railroad crossings.”
Help Union Pacific, Safe Kids Worldwide and “Chuggington” celebrate National Rail Safety Week by sharing these resources with a child, parent or teacher, and maybe – save a life.