School’s Out: ACPS Summer Safety Suggestions
The safety and security of our students is the top priority of Alexandria City Public Schools. The summer months are a wonderful time for exploration, outdoor time and travel, but children may be left unattended at home or in the community more than usual. As such, there are several important steps to take that will help protect your children and their friends this summer!
The City of Alexandria has recently begun a pilot program testing dockless bicycles and scooters. As your children set off on their own road adventures, remind them that riders should always wear appropriate protective gear, such as elbow and knee pads, gloves, wrist guards and especially helmets. According to the National SAFE KIDS campaign, helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent. Learn the rules of the road, including proper hand signals for turns and stopping. Make certain you observe all traffic signals and that your bike has safety reflectors if you will be riding at night.
On average, a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle every ten days. In more than half of these deaths, the caregiver forgot the child was in the car. Avoid heatstroke-related injury by never leaving a child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Also, make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not inside so kids don’t get in on their own.
Every year about 100 children 17 and under die in unintentional shootings and more than 400 children 17 and under die each year by suicide with a gun. Many of these tragedies could be prevented if adult gun owners stored firearms locked and unloaded. We urge families to “Be SMART” and take five simple steps to help prevent gun violence in our community: Secure all guns in your home and vehicles; Model responsible behavior around guns; Ask about the presence of unsecured guns in other homes before playdates; Recognize the role of guns in suicide; and, Tell your peers to “Be SMART.”
Setting screen-time limits -- and helping kids moderate their own habits -- are all about finding the right balance for your family's needs and lifestyle. Common Sense Media provides advice for creating a realistic schedule, setting age-appropriate guidelines on TV time, finding the first websites for young kids to use, handling violent media, and managing kids' cell phone use. You can also access additional resources on the site such as family media agreements and reviews for movies, TV shows, books, apps and games.
Unsecured prescription medications in the home can pose a serious threat to children. Always store your medicine out of reach and out of sight. Store your medicine in a cabinet with a child latch or lock. Securing these items and keeping them inaccessible to your children and other children can help save a life.
A drowning can happen quickly and silently. Always supervise young children around water. Stay close enough to reach your child at all times and avoid distractions. Strongly encourage older children to swim with a buddy and near a lifeguard when possible. When in open water, watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip tides/currents.