Our View: Let's make sure the kids stay alright

April 03, 2007 12:00 am

If you've been wondering why so many kids weren't in school Monday, it's because they're are on spring break this week. And that means it's time to be a little more safe than usual, if only for our children's sake.

Some safety tips to heed:

•Be watchful for children on bicycles and those playing in yards. A ball rolling onto the street or a sudden call from a friend across the way could send a child in front of your car or truck. Go extra slow when children are present and stay alert.

•When walking along the beach, be careful about going into the water, especially as rip currents can come up. If your child should get caught in a current, they shouldn't try to swim against it, the American Council on Science and Health advises. Instead, they should swim parallel to shore until clear of the current. Going over this little tip with your children could prevent them from drowning.

•Always have your child walk or bicycle with another rather than alone. This decreases your child's vulnerability and ensures someone can get help should an accident occur. Going in threes is even better as one child can stay while the other one seeks help.

•When kids are on their bicycles, they should ride near the curb in the same direction as traffic, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center suggests. In addition, they always should drive single file. Advise them to not compete with high speed, heavy traffic as doing so is dangerous. Instead, they should stay on less travelled routes.

•Spring break may mean teenagers are taking care of their younger siblings while parents work. It's a good idea to make sure alcohol and prescription drugs are stored in a location inaccessible that the younger children can't get into, the Medical College of Wisconsin recommends. The same should be done with firearms, with the addition of trigger locks. A home first aid kit and a list of emergency phone numbers should be available for the teenager caring for the children.

Spring breaks ought to be a time of fun for kids as they take a few days off of school to re-energize themselves. But it's no time for a mental break where safety is concerned.