Summer provides plenty of opportunity for adventure outdoors for children but with that fun comes risks parents should be aware of, the Heber City Police Department has summer safety tips for parents.
Heber City Detective Tammy Thacker says that when it comes to outdoor recreation its important parents take proper precautions.
Reservoirs, rivers and irrigation ditches are especially high this year after an impressive winter. Thacker says because of that there’s an increased risk of drowning for children.
“It's very important that you keep a close eye on your kids,” Thacker explained. “If you got really small kids or you're going by the river and it's just booming and really full, I would just avoid the area all to itself. Because one major or minor little slip can put you in the water and there could be some horrific consequences because of that. If you have water in your backyard, whether you have a little tiny pool or even just buckets of water always be vigilant with your children around them. It only takes a little tiny bit of water for a child to drown in.”
Detective Thacker reminds residents to wear their life jackets while out on the water. She says even when recreating on land it’s important to wear proper safety equipment.
“We can’t express enough how important helmets are” Thacker continued. “We see accidents with kids that could have not had a brain injury had they been wearing their helmet. I personally had my son hit when he was four on a bike and he was wearing his helmet which actually saved his life. It actually cracked his helmet in half and took a big chunk out of it. The doctor said if he didn't have it on, he wouldn't be here with us. So, I personally think it's a major deal to have the helmet on during the summertime, but it's something that as law enforcement we really like to stress. I think it's important as a family to make a rule that if you don't have your helmet you don't get to ride. You have to be an example as a parent and so you should be wearing yours as well.”
With children out of school and playing during commuting hours it’s especially important that drivers be aware and on the lookout for kids.
“Check behind you,” Thacker said. “Check in your mirrors. Double check and make sure that there aren't any kids out riding their bikes, outside playing. If they are maybe let them know you're backing out or tell their parents you’re going to be backing out and to keep an eye on them and not let them come towards your driveway as you're backing out.”
Safety inside cars is also paramount during summer months. Detective Thacker reminds residents that it only takes 10 minutes for a car to warm up by 19 degrees.
“All too often we hear horror stories about kids being left in their vehicles by parents,” Thacker explained. “Just forgetting them, or they’re sleeping, and they think they're just going to run into a friend’s house for a minute or run into a store and grab something quickly. That is extremely, extremely dangerous. For every minute degrees rise in the vehicle and the degrees outside can be deceiving, opposed to inside the vehicle. Children are at greater risk for heat stroke in death because their little bodies heat up three times faster than an adult does. I don't even recommend leaving your kid in the car with a cracked window. Just don't leave them in there, it's not a solution.”
For similar reasons children are at increased risk for dehydration, so Detective Thacker urges parents to keep that in mind as well. She says ultimately it comes down to paying attention to what’s going on wherever you are.
“The parks, or the pools, or hiking, or wherever you may be in our beautiful county,” Thacker continued. “Make sure that you're vigilant and you’re with your kids, not on your phones. Put your phones down and enjoy your kids right now. That goes for driving, backing out of driveways. A lot of times we're seeing more things happen just due to distraction and the phone and different things like that are kind of the culprit. So, just put your phones down and enjoy your kids in the nice weather.”