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Rural Health Information Hub

Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents travel to school, afterschool activities, and other recreational programs. However, in rural areas where there may be significant transportation barriers to healthcare, children and adolescents' health needs may be neglected. An effective means of ensuring children receive health and dental care are by providing these services at school.

There are a number of factors to consider when implementing a transportation program involving children. Program planners will need to work with parents and school administrators to obtain the appropriate permissions. The Services Integration Toolkit offers more resources on school-based healthcare delivery.

Safety concerns for children and adolescents are important to take into account when developing transportation programs. Minors are considered a vulnerable group and are at an increased risk of being killed in traffic fatalities, with one in six of all motor vehicle fatalities being pedestrians. Teen drivers are at a greater risk of engaging in risky practices that can lead to dangerous or impaired driving, contributing to the fact that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Transportation programs in rural communities should build practices to prevent injuries and fatalities among children and adolescents.

Transportation programs can dually serve as a means of getting children from one point to another and as a form of physical activity. Children living in rural areas are at a greater risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Transportation programs that promote an active lifestyle for children are important.

Resources to Learn More

Transportation for Homeless Children and Youth: Strategies for Rural School Districts
Lists strategies for arranging transportation, collaboration, and coordinating between districts to improve access to schools for rural, homeless children.
Organization(s): National Center for Homeless Education
Date: 3/2008