TOLEDO, Ohio — Right now, youngsters heading into kindergarten would be getting a lesson in safety.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, cities in northwest Ohio have had to cancel their safety towns. While they may not be attending the little town with intersections and crosswalks, important lessons still need to be learned.
Mercy Health's Trauma and Burn Educator Nicole Knepper says Toledo's Safe-T-City and other safety towns are a critical community resource.
"So we are worried that the kids aren't going to camp to learn all the safety information that they're going to be missing out. So we just want to talk to parents about important things they should be doing at home," Knepper said.
One of the big topics covered in safety town is safe bike-riding. Experts say as parents are looking to keep their little ones active while stuck at home, more kiddos are hopping on.
First things first, make sure your kids are wearing a helmet.
"Making sure that parents know the helmet is supposed to come down just above the eyebrows. The straps should make a 'V' around their ears," Knepper said.
She added that you should be able to fit a finger between the chin strap and chin for comfort. Parents, make sure you're wearing yours too to model good behavior.
Then, experts say to make sure kids practice first in a park or empty lot. They shouldn't be riding in the street right away. When they are old enough, make sure to ride with traffic and obey all traffic laws.
"There are too many distractions and it's easy for them to fall over. So really just practicing first," Knepper said.
Another safety issue experts want parents to teach their incoming kindergartners is crossing the street. They must use a crosswalk.
"We want to make sure that when they do cross the street that they're looking left, looking right and looking left again. So make sure no one is coming," Knepper said.
It's also important to tell your kids to make eye contact with the driver to make sure that driver is paying attention.
Experts also teach youngsters about burn prevention at safety town. With kids spending more time at home this upcoming school year, it's important they know which household items are hot.
"Like a curling iron at home or a hot pot on the stove. Kids are curious and they want to see what's going on. They want to see what you're cooking and they get a lot of scald burns because of that," Knepper said.
The experts hope to be back teaching the kids in person next summer.