Tuesday Tip: Hatzolah Volunteer Gives Key Tips on How to Keep Kids Safe This Summer
By Yehudit Garmaise
As kids head outside for fun on Boro Park’s sidewalks, streets, and parks, parents should keep at the forefront of their minds the dangers that can lurk amidst summer freedom.
Scooters: While pedestrians used to only have to worry about getting struck by careless drivers of cars, now scooters, e-bikes, and mopeds are hurting people of every age who are walking down the street, a Hatzolah member told BoroPark24.
“We have never before seen such high numbers of people getting injured by scooters, mopeds, and unregistered bikes on the streets and upstate,” he said.
While scooterists and delivery people sometimes crash into pedestrians, most accidents with scooters are the result of scooterists who crash into cars.
Although drivers who want to make a turn can usually see when pedestrians want to cross intersections, many kids on scooters race down sidewalks and through intersections so fast that drivers don’t have time to see them coming.
Kids barreling down sidewalks on scooters that go up to 40 mph see “Walk” signs from a distance, and thinking they have a green light, continue to blaze across intersections.
“What the kids don’t realize is that the cars that are turning also have the right of way, and they are allowed to make turns,” the volunteer said. “By the time kids, who are traveling at high speeds on scooters, realize that a car might turn into them, the kids are going so fast that they don’t have enough time to stop.
“The scooters’ speeds go very high, so the impacts are very hard and hard to prevent.
Parents have to teach the kids to slow down and to be more aware that cars cannot often see them.
“The drivers don’t realize they should yield because when they start to make their turns, no one is anywhere near the crosswalk,” the Hatzaloh member pointed out. “The kids, who are coming at high speeds, are still a few feet away from the crosswalks when the drivers start to make their turns.”
Although he wouldn’t give a particular age at which kids should be trusted on e-scooters, the Hatzolah volunteer said, “People should know whether their kids are mature enough to send them out on electric scooters to go shopping or to go play.
“Parents should ask themselves, ‘Are the kids going to be vigilant when it comes to crossing intersections and stay watchful and yield to oncoming traffic?’”
For responsible kids, parents should also emphasize the need to slow down and be more careful.
“Kids don’t need to be going 35-40mph on their scooters,” said the volunteer, who suggested that parents reduce the maximum speeds on their children’s scooters. “Makes no sense.”
Helmets are always important: “The scooters are pretty much out of control,” he said. “Both children and adults who ride scooters and e-bikes should be wearing helmets.”
Know your children’s whereabouts. While kids can’t wait to spend their days outside, parents need to make sure to keep an eye on them at all times.
Every summer, kids wander, get lost, and get themselves into unsafe situations, chas v’shalom.
“Keep counting your kids,” he recommended. “Know where your kids are going. Don’t send them out alone if they are not an appropriate age to watch over themselves, and don’t send them out with scooters who knows where.”
Check your backseat every time you get out of the car: One of the most important things in the summer is to make sure no babies or children are left in hot cars, said the volunteer, sadly adding, lo aleinu, that just last week, a one-year-old died after he was left all day in the backseat of a car in Monsey.
“Always remember to check the back of the car to see whether a kid a still there or not,” said the Hatzolah volunteer. “Also, school bus drivers, before they get off their buses, should always walk down to make sure no kids were left behind.”
No one should swim alone: “Obviously, never send your kids to any pool alone,” he said. “Even adults should never go swimming alone. Whether there is a lifeguard or not: Never go by yourself.
“Make sure the pools in bungalow colonies are gated properly.
“Mikvahs should also be carefully locked. Kids can drown, cvs, in mikvahs just by having access to them.
“If the mikvah is not secured, G-d forbid, kids can just walk in and start playing in the water. Mikvahs should be locked.”
Keep everyone hydrated: To prevent heat stroke, kids who stay out in the street or in the country for long days in the hot sun need to keep drinking water.
“Parents should take kids into the shade or inside for brief rests and water, popsicle, and ice cream breaks on very hot days,” said the volunteer, who looks forward to a fun and safe summer in Boro Park.