Choteau Public Schools and all public schools throughout Teton County have now dismissed for summer vacation. In our small towns there will be more children out in neighborhoods throughout the day. In Choteau they’ll be playing in yards, riding their bicycles to the library or the swimming pool, traveling to the Mini Park and the main park, and going to and from special events like youth basketball camp at the Choteau schools campus, Vacation Bible School and baseball games, for example.
We would encourage all parents of young children to give them a refresher course in pedestrian-vehicle traffic safety. Children should be reminded to stay on the sidewalks and in yards, to only cross streets at intersections, to stop their bikes and walk them across intersections, and to always be on the look out for motorists while they are walking or riding their bikes.
Conversely, all of us who drive need to remember that school is out and we need to take special care to watch out for kids, who are easily distracted and can forget to be vigilant at all times. Children can chase balls or pets out into the street, darting from behind parked cars. Kids can crash on their bikes, stopping suddenly without warning. Children walking, running or biking can change directions suddenly and without rhyme or reason. Drivers, especially those going through residential neighborhoods where there are many unmarked intersections, must be vigilant and ready to stop for someone’s child.
Parents of teenage drivers should also make a point to remind their young drivers about the need to be extremely careful while driving in town because little kids may not be focused on staying safe while they are walking to the park or the pool.
And, we encourage all drivers to wear their seatbelts all the time and never text and drive.
Let’s all work together to make sure we don’t have injuries or worst yet, fatalities, involving kids and vehicles this summer. With a little bit of forethought and cautiousness, we should all be able to enjoy the summer vacation.