Safety tips featured at 'Play it Safe' Family Safety Day
Their faces painted and helmets strapped on tight, the people assembled at Spring Lane Cinemas on Saturday morning weren't ancient warriors; they were just kids learning about bike safety.
The 'Play it Safe' Family Safety Day, the second of three events sponsored by the City of Sanford in the days leading up to National Night Out on Aug. 6, hosted several dozen children and parents who had the chance to learn about many different ways to keep themselves and their loved ones out of harm's way this summer.
There were bike and scooter safety tips plus lessons on the rules of the road for bikers and pedestrians. Parents learned how to properly install and use car seats, and everyone got tips on how to keep themselves — and their pets — cool and hydrated.
"These are all things kids will be doing now that they're out of school," said Kelly Quinones Miller, the city's National Night Out coordinator.
Bruce Vaughan, who brought his 7-year-old twins to the event, said his family doesn't always stress proper safety measures when going for rides.
"We've talked about (safety) but we don't really practice it," he said. "We live out a little ways and don't go riding in neighborhoods or on big roads."
But when his daughter ran off for another jaunt around the oval course organizers had set up in the cinema parking lot Saturday, Vaughan did yell after her to put on a helmet.
Miller said getting people more used to following safety practices is the exact purpose of the event, and will also be the focus of the next event, an Aug. 3 demonstration on personal safety. There will be self-defense lessons and other safety tips, she said, as well as gun locks available for gun owners with children.
"Hopefully nothing happens, but if it does, they'll be more prepared," Miller said.
Also at these events have been Sanford firefighters and police officers, showing off vehicles and other equipment and trying to establish a more positive image.
Sanford Police Sgt. Tony Hancox, with the department's community police division, said getting people involved with their communities is the main goal of National Night Out — but getting them more comfortable with police is also a big part of it.
"It's also a way for people to meet police in a positive way," Hancox said. "Most of the time when you interact with police, it's because you're getting pulled over or we're called to your house."
So he and some fellow officers brought out a mobile command unit for people to tour and ask questions about, and a few of the officers even got on their bikes and went for a spin with the children. They'll also be set up at the Aug. 3 event, which will be held from 9-11 a.m. at First Baptist Church, located at 202 Summit Drive near downtown Sanford.
Like Saturday's event, that will also be open to everyone who wants to come out, learn more about safety and have the opportunity to sign up for a community National Night Out. At all related events, Miller said, people are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for Christians United Outreach Center of Lee County, the county's biggest food pantry.