It’s Summer Safety Week in downtown Spokane! August 1 through 5, downtown is sharing resources and tips to foster a safer, more inviting, community for all. Downtown is a beautiful place to build family memories and today we want to highlight tips for kids’ safety so that your next family outing is stress-free and fun.

When with children it is crucial to remind them of the importance of staying close to you. This may sound very simple but the best way not to lose your children is to have them close to you at all times.

  • If your kids are old enough to explore on their own, choose a meeting place they will remember in case they do get lost. It could be near an entrance, at the food court or a specific store or restaurant, or even by the security desk, depending on the place. Make sure that everyone knows to meet there if you become separated at some point.
  • Identify public safety staff and security guard uniforms with your children and let them know they are a resource for the child if they do happen to feel lost.
  • Avoid buying products that bear your child’s name. If someone calls him or her by name, your child might think a stranger could be a friend.
  • If a situation or a person just doesn’t seem safe, your child’s gut instinct should kick in. Teach your kids to listen to that little voice inside of them that alerts them to the potential danger of a situation or a suspicious individual. If their instincts tell them that a situation is potentially dangerous, they should run away and find an authority figure that they can trust.
  • Cell phones make it easy to keep the family connected today. Make sure that everyone has their cell phone with them, and that the batteries are charged up. A family locator app is perhaps the best tool that you can use to keep your family safe. With a family tracker app, you can easily see everyone’s location in real time.

When enjoying downtown with your family highlight the importance of street safety with your kids.

  • Something as simple as making sure that the kids hold hands, whether it’s with an adult or their siblings, will keep them safer in busy areas. Make it the family rule that everyone holds hands with someone when you’re out in crowds, like at an amusement park or a busy shopping mall. For small children that don’t want to hold hands, keep them in a stroller or shopping cart.
  • When navigating sidewalks, make sure that the child stays on the inside of you away from the street and curbline.
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.

Emergency departments see more than 20,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related traumatic brain injury each year. Help your child play safe and prevent emergency room visits.

  • Actively supervise children on playgrounds. It won’t be hard – they’ll probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing.
  • Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
  • Ensure that children use age-appropriate playground equipment. Separate play areas for children under 5 should be available and maintained.
  • Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous on a playground, so save those for bikes.
  • Report any playground safety hazards to the organization responsible for the site (e.g., school, park authority or city council).