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PSRC, first responders encourage children to have a safe summer | #schoolsaftey

Jackson Williams, 8, and his 7-year-old sister, Aubree Williams, enjoy a ride on a piece of new equipment at Sugar Memorial Park on Fourth Street in St. Pauls in this image from 2020. Local school officials are urging children to have a safe summer break.

LUMBERTON — The Public Schools of Robeson County and local first responders have teamed up to share safety tips for you and your family to have a safe and happy summer!

“We want to make sure our students have an amazing summer break and that they stay safe while enjoying various outdoor activities at home or while away!” said PSRC Chief Communications Officer Jessica Sealey.

Friday marks the end of the school year for PSRC students enrolled in elementary, middle and high schools excluding PSRC Early College High School, which observed its last day of school on May 24.

The school district has teamed up with Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, Robeson County EMS and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to offer tips to help keep students and their families safe this summer.

Watch for pedestrians and children riding bicycles

“As we enter into the summer season with schools out it is imperative that we, as motorists, are cognizant of children using their bicycles,” said First Sgt. S.B. Lewis, of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

“The Governors Highway Safety Program reports that approximately 20 bicyclists are killed each year and that typically less than 50% of children wear safety helmets,” he said.

In 2022, there were 17 collisions in Robeson County involving a pedestrian which resulted in the death of the pedestrian involved, he said.

“This was up from 3 pedestrian-related fatalities the year before,” he said. “This goes to show the importance of being ever vigilant while operating a motor vehicle and while walking on or near a roadway.”

Water safety tips: diving, swimming and boating

“Swimming and other water activities are excellent ways to have fun. If swimming in the Lumber River, please do not dive off of bridges or overhanging trees as water levels differ. When swimming at home, in a lake or river, make sure kids are supervised at all times regardless of swimming skills,” said Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins.

Wilkins said it is important to wear a life jacket while boating.

“Properly fitted life jackets can prevent drownings and should be worn at all times by everyone on any boat regardless of your swimming ability. Boating in the river can be tricky so be on the lookout for downed tree limbs and be mindful of potential low water levels in some areas,” he said.

Firearms safety

Storing firearms in locked and secure locations keeps children safe.

“Storing firearms responsibly, in your home and vehicle, is the number one way to help prevent firearms accidents, theft and misuse. As summer begins, kids become even more curious. You can never be too careful,” Wilkins said. “Lock weapons away.”

Monitor social media accounts

Sheriff Wilkins said it is important to keep tabs on your child’s social media accounts.

“As a parent or guardian, be nosy. Look at your kids’ social media accounts,” Wilkins said.

The sheriff said it is important to set specific boundaries and to know how social media impacts your child. He encourages parents to look for cues in behavior and to monitor social media usage.

“Be observant of their actions and monitor their friends’ behavior. Peer pressure can be an issue, especially amongst young people so be there for guidance at all times,” the sheriff said. “Never assume your child is ok.”

Tips to beat the summer heat

The summer season can be an enjoyable time of the year, but it is also a time when the potential for heat injuries and illness increase.

“But heat injuries and illnesses are preventable,” said Robeson County EMS Director Patrick Cummings.

Cummings encourages the public to drink plenty of water, avoid caffeinated drinks that instigate thirst, use sunscreen, and if possible schedule outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day.

Look out for poisonous reptiles and insects

Several types of dangerous snakes and spiders are indigenous to this area including rattlesnakes, black widows, and brown recluses. Watch out for snakes and poisonous spiders while hiking, camping and enjoying the outdoors, Cummings said.

“It is important to treat all snakes and spiders as if they are poisonous,” Cummings said. “If you are bitten seek medical attention immediately.”

He also encourages the public to be aware of summer insects like ticks, wasps and mosquitoes while outdoors.

“If you are allergic to insect bites or stings, ensure that you have an emergency first-aid kit to include an antihistamine on hand,” Cummings said.

“Please heed these tips to stay safe and enjoy your summer break!” he added.

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