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May 27, 2010

 CONTACT: Lauren Kidd
Press Office: 609-633-8507

DCF and DHS Remind Parents and Caregivers of Summer Safety


This Memorial Day weekend and all throughout the summer season, the New Jersey Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Human Services (DHS) want to ensure that summertime is a safe time for youth.

To prevent tragedies and serious injuries from occurring DCF and DHS suggest some simple but vital tips on water, helmet and vehicle safety, for parents and caregivers to follow to keep kids safe this summer.

“As the weather warms up and our children spend more quality time playing outdoors, it is so important for parents to stick to a few safety rules – such as always watching kids around water, never leaving a child alone in a car and making sure kids wear helmets on  bicycles and skateboards,” said Acting DCF Commissioner Kara Wood.

DCF is reminding parents and caretakers to never leave children unattended near water and always child-proof backyard swimming pools. A child can drown in just a few inches of water and within seconds, often without any splashing or screaming. DCF’s “Not Even for a Second” campaign stresses the following water safety tips for parents:

  • Always have an ADULT supervising young swimmers. Never leave a child alone around water. Children are drawn to it, and very young children can drown in just one inch of water. 
  • Flotation devices or inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision. Teach children to swim at an early age. 
  • Obey all posted or verbal rules, warning signs and other safety signs. Don’t mix alcohol and supervision of children. 
  • Always drain and store plastic or blow-up wading pools in an upright position. Enclose pools completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence, and do not leave furniture around that children can use to climb over the fence. You can contact the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for more information regarding pool construction and residential codes:
  • Be sure to remove pool covers completely to reduce the risk of children getting caught underneath.

DCF is also reminding parents and caregivers to never leave children unattended in a vehicle, where temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels, especially in warmer summer months. DCF’s “Not Even for a Minute” campaign outlines tips for parents to help keep kids safe around cars, including:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a car. Not even for a minute.
  • Always lock your car and secure the keys so that your kids can’t get to them.
  • Warn your children about playing in and around cars.
  • Install a trunk release mechanism so that kids can’t get trapped inside the trunk.
  • Get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about unloading the groceries and items out of the car.

In 1992, New Jersey was the first state in the nation to enact the bicycle helmet law to require children 17 years of age and younger to wear a helmet while operating a tricycle, bicycle, skateboard, roller skates or scooter.  We now encourage individuals of all ages to wear helmets while engaging in these activities. In addition, child safety seats are required for all children under the age of 8 or who weigh less than 80 pounds, and seatbelts are required for all riders, whether sitting in the front or back seats.

Each year in New Jersey there are nearly 9,000 traumatic brain injuries (TBI), resulting in hospitalization or death. Approximately 10% of these TBIs are fatal.

“Summer can and should be relaxing and enjoyable for families but we can’t let our guard down to the dangers to safety that exist,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez.

For the more information on summer safety tips, and copies of the DCF summer safety brochure, visit the Web at: