WHITTIER — With children in high school, middle school and elementary school, Melody Manzanares says she hardly has enough time on weekday mornings to walk her youngest daughter, Christiana, to class at Ocean View Elementary School. But she and millions around the world found the time Wednesday as part of International Walk to School Day, an annual event aimed at promoting health, safety, exercise and concern for the environment. “Walking her to school gives me time — it makes me stop doing everything and not be in such a rush,” said Manzanares, 39. “And I know she likes it because we get to talk.” Ocean View Elementary was among about 3,500 schools throughout all 50 states to participate in International Walk to School Day, which began nine years ago. Through events like International Walk to School Day, Safe Kids USA Los Angeles region member Shirley “Shot” Nomoto said they are able to “really enhance our prevention activities.” “Sometimes, just the educational tips and reminders on what to do — like never crossing the street alone if you’re under 10, looking both ways, never playing in the street — makes people more aware of pedestrian safety,” Nomoto said. “Accidental injuries kill 1 million children worldwide every year,” she added. “So our whole focus is on education.” — Tracy Garcia can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But with the rising rates of childhood obesity and worsening air quality, Principal Mary Branca said, the event also promotes regular exercise and improves the environment by encouraging parents to leave their gas-guzzling cars at home. “To see how empty the parking lot is — that’s what surprised me the most one year,” Branca said. “We want to take the opportunity to reinforce good traffic skills among our students and parents, and encourage families to spend some more time together.” Each student who walked to school received a raffle ticket for a prize drawing next week and earned a “foot token” for the school’s Mileage Club, which requires students to walk or run laps during recess or lunch. Foot tokens are earned when students fulfill their quota of laps every week. Also on Wednesday, the worldwide network Safe Kids USA released a list of the most pedestrian-friendly U.S. metropolitan cities that have more than 1 million residents. Of 47 cities, the county areas of Los Angeles/Riverside/Orange ranked 24th, with an average of 35 pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle accidents per year from 1999 to 2003. But it also showed that only 15 percent of residents here make trips on foot.