As public and private schools wrap up the year Thursday and Friday, and children eagerly dive into 2 1/2 months of liberty, area communities will need to shift their focus to seasonal safety.
The weather and water conditions at area reservoirs look good for the holiday weekend, the YMCA’s outdoor water parks open Saturday, and Wichita opens its public pools Monday – kicking off another season of water recreation and the accompanying risks of drowning and other preventable accidents. It’s telling that only four of the 28 people who suffered boating-related deaths in Kansas in the past five years were wearing life jackets. Every summer tragically demonstrates the necessity of close supervision of toddlers around backyard pools and ponds.
The warm, long days also bring out the bicyclists and motorcyclists, whose efforts to stay safe in Wichita traffic have been complicated lately by sandy streets. Motorists can help avoid accidents by being alert for all kinds of bikes and mindful of the state law requiring that passing drivers leave 3 feet between their vehicle and a bicyclist. Cyclists can help by knowing and following the rules of the road and by wearing helmets.
The State Child Death Review Board mentioned some other seasonal hazards in its most recent report, noting the danger of leaving children unattended in vehicles and the risks of crashes of all-terrain vehicles (which are six times as likely as a bicycle to send a child to a hospital).
While congratulations are in order for the completion of another school year, so is a reminder to be careful out there.