Summer Safety Tips for Kids


Now that school is out we see more kids than ever out and about on their bikes.  The Key Biscayne Police Department wants to make sure your kids enjoy their summer vacation, and return to school happy and healthy!

 

Officer Vicki Hernandez asks that you take a few minutes to read about some of the things you can do to help the Department keep your kids safe this summer.

Bicycle Safety

Make sure your child always wears a bicycle helmet when riding a bike.  If your child is under the age of 16, s/he must wear a helmet by law, even if s/he is a passenger on your bike.  The same law applies to any child using a carrier mounted to your bicycle, whether it's mounted to the bicycle or pulled behind it. 

Did you know that nearly 690 children are injured daily in bicycle-related crashes in the United States?  National estimates of bicycle helmet use among child bicyclists range from 15% to 25%.  Studies show that an estimated 75% of fatal head injuries among child bicyclists could have been prevented by bicycle helmets. 

The Key Biscayne Police Department wants to make sure your child does not become on of these statistics.  We routinely see children riding bicycles either without helmets, or with a helmet hanging from their bike's handlebars.  These children may be issued a verbal or written warning by an officer for not wearing a helmet.  If a child has been repeatedly warned and still refuses to wear his/her helmet, a citation may be written. 

 

Seatbelt and Child Restraint Seat Safety

Another important safety issue is seatbelt use.  In 2007, 134 children under the age of 18 were killed in traffic accidents in the State of Florida.  Sixty two percent of those were riding unrestrained in a vehicle.  We know how important your kids are to you. That is why you'll see us vigorously enforcing seat belt laws where it relates to children. 

Seat belt and child restraint laws for children are primary stops for law enforcement officers.  That means if we see an unbuckled child in a vehicle, the driver can be stopped and cited for that violation. 

Florida law states that children 3 and under must be in an approved child restraint seat.  Children 4 and 5 years of age should be in a car seat. However, they can use a booster seat/seat belt combination or just a seat belt if they're big enough.  Remember that the seat belt must fit securely across the child's chest and hips.  It is not acceptable to put the shoulder harness under his/her arm, or behind his/her back, leaving only the lap belt for protection.  If a seat belt cuts into your child's neck and is uncomfortable, that means your child should probably be in a booster seat even if they are older than 5 years of age. 

Citations written for child restraint violations (children under 6 years of age) are considered moving violations and, if you are found guilty, will add points to your license.  Fines for child restraint violations also are enhanced. 

On July 1, 2009, seat belt violations for adults, as well as children, will be a primary stop.  Until then, the only way an adult can be cited for a seat belt violation is if they are stopped for another traffic violation. As of July 1st officers can stop a car if any seatbelt violation is observed.  So please buckle up.  Not only is it the law, it saves lives.

 

 

 

 


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