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Keep kids safe this summer

School is out for the summer, the weather is hot and the days are long, and that means children will be spending more time outdoors over the next few months.

The lazy days of summer can be fun for everybody, but drivers and parents shouldn’t be lazy when it comes to children’s safety. The Suffolk Police Department has compiled some tips to help keep children safe as they’re enjoying their summer.

Tips for Drivers:

  • Be alert, especially in residential areas.
  • Expect the unexpected. Children may cross the street at the wrong place or suddenly run or ride in front of you.
  • Obey all laws. Slow down if there are children along the road or crossing the street. Come to a full stop at intersections.
  • Be predictable. Don’t make sudden maneuvers that others, particularly children on foot or on a bicycle, are not expecting.
  • Double check behind you and around you when backing out of a driveway or parking space.
  • Don’t be distracted.
  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians. It isn’t just courteous, it’s the law.

Tips for Parents:

  • Focus on the basics. Teach your children to make eye contact with the driver before they cross, even if the walk signal is on.
  • Remind them to walk, don’t run across the road and to stop, look and listen before crossing the street.
  • Teach your children to cross at intersections that have a marked crosswalk or a pedestrian crossing light.
  • Teach children to watch out for cars that are backing up.
  • When walking with your child, avoid unnecessary shortcuts like walking through a parking lot. Drivers may not see children between parked cars and the children may not see the cars moving.
  • Remind children not to play in or around vehicles.
  • Familiarize your child with your neighborhood.
  • Make sure your child knows their full name, address as well as their parents’ names and phone numbers.
  • Teach children to walk and play with other children. There is safety in numbers.
  • Teach children to stay in well-lighted areas.
  • Teach your child to report suspicious persons to you, teachers, or police officers.
  • Teach your child what to take notice of when they encounter a suspicious vehicle or person: Type and color of vehicle, license plate number, male/female, clothing description, and distinguishing marks.
  • Talk to your child about their friends and get to know them.
  • Speak with your child/children about gun safety. If you have a gun in the home, make sure it has a gun lock on it or is locked in a safe. Teach your child that if they see a gun, they should never touch it. They should run away and tell an adult.