Playing in the Streets
New York kids have a long and storied history of playing in the streets. From stickball to skully to stoopball and many more, there���s even a new documentary coming out to celebrate this tradition.
But these activities are not without risk. A recent article by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highlights that children who "live in dense, low-income, urban residential neighborhood are at much higher risk of sustaining a pedestrian injury. ��Commonly, there are inadequate play areas in these neighborhoods, with children playing in and around streets in the afternoon and evening hours. The increased traffic, faster average speed, and number of parked cars along the curb add to the risk of pedestrian injury in these neighborhoods. Parked cars along a residential street obscure visibility for both drivers and pedestrians, especially children."
The article points out that young children do not yet have the developmental skills to be safe pedestrians. Therefore AAP recommends that parents should model good pedestrian behavior, supervise children carefully around traffic, and teach children how to be safe pedestrians.
Drivers should also be warned not to have unrealistic expectations of a child's pedestrian abilities and reminded about the need to slow down and be alert for dart-outs when children are nearby.
If you���re looking for some safe places where your kids really can play in the streets this summer check out these great resources:
NYCDOT's Summer Streets- two more weekends to go, August 15 and 22 from 7:00 am - 1:00 pm, a seven-mile car-free route from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. Free bike and skate rentals, helmet fitting stations, fitness classes, kids' activities and more.
Weekend Walks - DOT has partnered with local business organizations to bring temporary pedestrian streets to neighborhoods throughout the city. These weekend events feature music, classes, games and arts activities.
Play Streets - The Police Athletic League's Summer Play Streets Program closes off streets and utilizes other public areas, such as playgrounds and parks, throughout New York City to provide children with safe, supervised places to enjoy outdoor summer activities. Play Streets are open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and are free to all New York City children.
Keep Your Kids Safe: Inside the Car and Out
Your child's safety is your first priority. One of the ways you help keep your child safe is by ensuring your car is in good working order, getting the right car seat for your child, and getting your car and car-seat inspected at a DOT car seat inspection station, where experts check that the seat is properly installed.
Even if you don't own a car, you might be thinking of borrowing or renting one for a summer vacation. Whether you drive often or a few times a year, summer raises some special concerns when it comes to kids and cars.
Did you know there are dangers in and around your vehicle that could seriously harm or even kill your child? One of the most serious is hyperthermia or heatstroke. It can take only moments for the temperature in a car to reach deadly levels for children left inside, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Even cool temperatures in the 60s can cause the temperature in your car to rise to above 110 degrees. The inside temperature can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes.
As temperatures begin to heat up, babies and young children are at serious risk for heatstroke, even when left alone for just a few minutes. A study conducted by Safe Kids USA and General Motors found that children are more vulnerable to heat because a child���s body temperature increases three to five times faster than that of an adult. In 2008, 43 children died as a result of being left unattended in a car.
Here are some prevention tips to keep your children safe and healthy:
Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle - not even for just a few minutes, not even if you leave the windows partially open.
- Don't let your child play in an unattended vehicle.
- Always lock the doors and trunk - especially at home. Keep keys and remote entry devices out of children's reach.
- Make a habit of looking in the car - front and back - before locking the door and walking away.
- Place something you'll need at your next stop - your purse, lunch, briefcase, gym or beach bag - on the floor of the backseat where the child is sitting. This simple step could help prevent you from accidentally forgetting that your child is in the car.
- If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. The child needs to get out of the car as soon as possible and cool down rapidly.