Safe Kids Worldwide and Union Pacific Railroad have announced a series of new initiatives in their partnership aimed at keeping children and communities safer. The work is a continuation of their partnership to raise awareness, educate families and prevent rail-related injuries and deaths involving children.
Over the last three years, Union Pacific’s support helped Safe Kids Worldwide reach more than 10,000 individuals through direct educational programming and activities associated with Scholastic’s Clifford the Big Red Dog. Traditional and social media awareness efforts expanded the reach, leading to more than 265 million impressions.
The new initiatives will be informed by the latest data and new research to maximize the effectiveness of programs, such as a public safety awareness campaign for parents to talk to their children and a partnership hub with digital toolkits for educators, partners and advocates.
“Every five days a child is killed in a train collision and almost all of these tragedies are preventable,” said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Union Pacific has been a true partner in our efforts to prevent these tragedies and we are grateful for their unwavering and continuing commitment to finding new and innovative ways to reach families, educate parents, and inspire communities to get involved.”
“Safety, from protecting communities and preventing rail accidents, is our top priority and at the core of everything we do at Union Pacific,” said Scott Moore, senior vice president – Corporate Relations and chief administrative officer, and Union Pacific Foundation President. “We are committed to continuing our work with Safe Kids Worldwide as we make progress together in keeping children and communities across the country safe.”
In many communities, areas near train tracks are considered by young people to be a popular place to “hang out.” Many people, including kids and adults, walk along the tracks, cut across them as a short cut and pose for group photos and selfies on train tracks – disregarding the dangers of such areas, such as trains are at least three feet wider than the tracks on either side; modern trains are quieter than many people might think; and once a train starts to brake, it can take a mile for the train to stop completely.
Between 2009 and 2019, 826 children died as a result of a rail-related injury and more than 2,000 children were injured. Trespass incidents make up 65 percent of these fatalities and 47 percent of the nonfatal injuries, with teens ages 15-19 being the age group most frequently impacted.
Informed by the latest data and new research to be conducted by Safe Kids, over the next three years, Safe Kids and Union Pacific will focus on several new and existing initiatives, including:
- A new partner hub to provide digital toolkits to educators, partners and community advocates;
- An engagement program to educate community influencers to help raise awareness about rail safety in target communities;
- Continued engagement with Safe Kids coalitions around the country;
- An education program to continue to engage teens through the Rail Safety Service Learning project that inspires teens to serve as role models by teaching younger students;
- A Start Safe Travel program to target parents and caregivers of preschool-aged children;
- Distribution of Clifford the Big Red Dog book entitled “Clifford and the Railroad Crossing” in target markets and readings with Union Pacific employees at elementary schools. All in-person events will adhere to CDC COVID-19 safety guidelines;
- Development of new “Chuggington: Tales from the Rails” materials, reaching children on digital platform GoNoodle;
- A public awareness campaign during National Rail Safety Week in September to encourage parents to learn the facts about rail safety and talk to their teens.
“Thanks to the support of Union Pacific, we are already seeing the impact of our work and more parents understand the importance of talking with their kids about rail safety,” said Creppy. “But we are still seeing too many tragedies that can be prevented with the right education, outreach and awareness efforts. We are eager to continue our partnership with Union Pacific to expand and leverage our evidence-informed programs and communication tools to get life-saving information to the communities and families that need it most.”