Tips to enjoy a safe summer in the city

All over the Twin Cities schools are out and students are flocking outside to enjoy the summer weather. With this in mind the Minneapolis Police Department would like to remind everyone of safety concerns to prevent accidents and tragedies this summer.

One of the more obvious areas to concentrate on is watching for children playing and bicycling in the streets, especially in residential areas of the city. However, drivers everywhere should use more caution and expect children to dart out from between cars or swerve their bicycles into traffic lanes without warning.

Water Safety
Water safety is another area of concern. Never leave children unattended or unsupervised near bodies of water. It only takes a few seconds for a tragedy to occur. This should include area lakes, swimming pools and even hot tubs. Do not rely solely on lifeguards to supervise your children. Children who cannot swim should not enter the water without an appropriate floatation device.

Set Guidelines
Parents should be aware of where their children are going and set guidelines as to when they should return or check-in. Minneapolis Police officers respond time and time again and expend considerable resources to find lost children who in reality either were not given instructions as to when to return/check-in or who did not inform parents of their new location. Set expectations in advance.

Curfew rules
Hennepin County has a curfew ordinance. Children ages 11 and under must be home by 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Ages 12 through 14 must be home by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Ages 15 to 17 must be home by 11 pm on weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturday. The Minneapolis Police Department vigorously enforces curfew violations to prevent juveniles from being victimized and to minimize the chance they will engage in criminal activity. Violators will be taken to the Juvenile Supervision Center at City Hall and parents/guardians must come pick them up. The juveniles are issued citations with monetary penalties.

Positive activities
Whenever possible have your children take part in organized activities sponsored by such organizations as the Park Board, the Police Activities League, local libraries and the YMCA to name a few. Busy kids are less likely to find themselves in trouble.

Talk to your older kids about attending or hosting parties, the consequences that can result, and remind them that alcoholic beverages and cars don’t mix. Getting into a car with a drunken driver poses the same life risk as drinking and driving themselves.

In short the Minneapolis Police Department asks adults to talk to their kids about the pitfalls of summer while encouraging them to enjoy themselves in a safe manner.

Published Jun. 16, 2011