Last Day of School Means More Kids Outside “Playing”

260562_511552342225126_250326176_nRock legend “Alice Cooper” may have coined the lyrics, but today kids all over Vancouver are singing them:

No more pencils;
No more books;
No more teachers dirty looks!

If you live in the Vancouver School District, today marks the long-awaited first day of summer. No longer will our children spend hours in the classroom and at the kitchen table working on homework or studies. Gone are the days of writing and arithmetic.  With this newly rediscovered freedom comes balls, and bikes, and games.  Unfortunately, this time also represents the most dangerous period for our children.

It goes without mentioning that kids don’t pay attention. Despite our constant and recurrent pleas that our little ones not run into the road before looking both ways, they will.  They do. Despite our many reminders, they will ride their bikes into the street before looking for cars. These types of occurrences happen much more often  than we care to admit and they create a dangerous, even life-threatening situation for our children.

With this in mind, we drivers must slow down.  We must pay attention.  We must be the driver we would want on the roadway if it was our children playing where they ought not to be playing in a way that they ought not to play.  SLOW DOWN!  and PAY ATTENTION!

As a father of three (almost four), I understand firsthand the fear I experience every time my kids play in the front yard. I know, despite my constant vigilance and admonishing, “kids will be kids” and they will dart, dash, run, ride into the roadway.  That’s what kids do. In their minds, they are invincible and don’t know what death is much less that it is them that could run into the road one minute and not wake up the next.

We drivers have to make up for their youthful shortcomings. We do this not only by slowing down, but by paying attention to the things outside of our car and not things inside of our car (cell phones, radio, makeup, lunch, etc.). We need to be ever cautious in neighborhoods, especially where children are present. We even don our Sherlock Holmes’ hat and use our deductive reasoning skills. Where we see one child, we can bet that he or she is playing with someone. Where we see a ball in the street, it is safe to assume a kid put it there and will soon be out to get it. Where we see a bicycle lying on the sidewalk, we can suppose that its rider is somewhere close by. Watch out for these kids. Let them enjoy their summer how summers were supposed to be enjoyed.

I shudder at the thought of something tragic happening to my children. Probably more concerning however, is the thought that my carelessness could forever take the life of someone’s Johnny or Sally. I just don’t know if I could cope with that guilt and remorse. Neither could you. Make safe our roads. Be safe out there and watch out for children.



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