Spring safety tips

By Angelina Fraize, APD officer and mom

As the long dark winter melts into spring, families all over Alaska are looking forward to the return of warmer weather. Days are growing longer, grass is starting to peek out from melting snow and the kiddos are finding their way outside to enjoy the sunshine! It’s important to keep some tips in mind to ensure that everyone stays safe this spring.

Bike Safety:

• Check the fit of bike helmets. Remember that an entire year has passed and children’s heads have probably grown! Helmets should sit level on the head and low on the forehead, one- to two finger-widths above the eyebrows. The buckle should be centered under the chin, with the strap snug. No more than one or two fingers should fit under the chin strap. The side straps should form a “v” shape under and slightly in front of the ears. The helmet should not rock back and forth on the head. If it does, tighten the straps. To find out more about the City of Anchorage’s program that gives away free bicycle helmets to children 15 years or younger, visit anchoragebikehelmets.org.

• Talk to your family about safe bike riding! Accidents between bikes and vehicles are not uncommon and I have often found that they could have been avoided with a little more caution on both the part of the biker and the motorist. Tell your kids that when they are crossing in front of any vehicle, they must make eye contact with the driver to be sure the driver sees them before proceeding. It’s a good idea to always stop fully before crossing any street, alley or driveway, even if you are biking on the sidewalk.

Personal Safety:

• Remind your kids that they should never walk alone. If older children must walk alone, it should be only for very short distances and they should know that it is not okay to talk to any strangers along the way.

• Don’t forget the hats and gloves! The sun may be shining, but kids should still be sent to school with warm jackets, gloves and hats. Spring can be a chilly time of year and little fingers and heads need protection, especially while waiting for a bus or playing outside during recess.

Online Safety:

• Kids should never “talk” to anyone online they don’t know. Set some time aside to sit down with your children and have an honest and open discussion about online safety. Let them ask any questions they might have and if you aren’t sure of an answer, look it up online and show them how to navigate the Internet safely.

• Remind all family members never to send personal information over the Internet or to meet anyone in person they don’t already know.

• Set parental controls on your wireless router. Many wireless routers come with built-in software that includes parental controls, allowing you to block inappropriate or dangerous sites and indicating times when wireless connections can automatically be shut off. If your router didn’t come with this software, it can easily be found online.

Angelina Fraize has worked in law enforcement for 13 years. She has been an Anchorage Police Department officer for 8 years and currently works as a full-time staff instructor at the APD police academy. Born and raised in Alaska, Angelina and her husband, who is also a police officer, have two daughters.