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Be cautious for children on roadways

The Suffolk Police Department is reminding drivers to be extra cautious in looking for child pedestrians and bicyclists on the roadways.

Between schools being closed for the rest of the school year and the warmer spring weather, there are now more vulnerable pedestrians on the roadways.

A Thursday email from city spokeswoman Diana Klink listed the following tips for drivers and parents, as well as personal safety tips for children.

The following tips are for drivers:

  • Be alert, especially in residential areas.
  • Expect the unexpected. Children may cross the street at the wrong place, or suddenly run or ride in front of you.
  • Obey all laws. Slow down if there are children along the road or crossing the street, and come to a full stop at intersections.
  • Be predictable. Don’t make sudden maneuvers that others — particularly children on foot or on a bicycle — are not expecting.
  • Double-check behind you and around you when backing out of a driveway or parking space.
  • Don’t be distracted, and keep both hands on the steering wheel. Put down the coffee and cell phone, and avoid other distractions within your vehicle, like loud music.
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

Parents can also help by reminding their children to stay safe on the roadways:

  • Focus on the basics. Teach your children to make eye contact with the driver before they cross, even if the walk signal is on.
  • Remind them to walk — not run — across the road, and to stop, look and listen before crossing the street.
  • Teach your children to cross at intersections that have a marked crosswalk or a pedestrian crossing light.
  • Teach children to watch out for cars that are backing up.
  • When walking with your child, avoid unnecessary shortcuts like walking through a parking lot. Drivers may not see children between parked cars, and the children may not see the cars moving.
  • Remind children not to play in or around vehicles.

Children should also be taught the following, crucial safety tips:

  • Be alert and aware of people and their surroundings.
  • Familiarize your child with your neighborhood.
  • Make sure they know their full name and address, as well as their parent’s name(s) and phone numbers.
  • Walk and play with other children, as there is safety in numbers.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Teach your child to report suspicious persons to you, teachers or police officers.
  • Teach your child what to take notice of when they encounter a suspicious vehicle or person, such as the type and color of the vehicle and the license plate number, and the suspicious person’s gender, clothing and distinguishing marks.
  • Talk to your child about their friends and get to know them.
  • Speak with your child or children about gun safety. If you have a gun in the home, make sure it has a gunlock on it or is locked in a safe. Teach your child that if they see a gun, they should never touch it, and should instead run away and tell an adult.