It`s that time again ... 

Spring Break Safety Tips
The cold is clearing – here, in Florida, at least – and soon, the annual influx of spring-breakers will fill the beautiful beaches of Pinellas. Whether you are fleeing the area for a vacation of your own or prepping your family for the busy beaches and congested roadways, take note of our top five tips for staying safe this Spring Break.
1. Whether you are visiting somewhere new or checking out a local, familiar favorite, expect larger-than-usual crowds at family-friendly attractions like beaches, parks, and museums. Keep small children close, and make a plan with your family about what to do if you get separated for any reason. Agree on a place and time that you will regroup. If you’re spring-breaking with a swim, NEVER swim alone, and instruct children to stay within sight of a responsible adult or lifeguard. 

2. Whether you're at the beach, on the boat, or in the backyard, your Spring Break plans likely include outdoor activity, so don't forget the sunscreen! The Centers for Disease Control recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, even if it's slightly cloudy. Make sure to apply it 15-30 minutes before you head outdoors to allow your skin sufficient time to absorb it.

3. If you’re hitting the road, secure your home. Lock your doors and windows, and put valuables in a safe place. Tell a friend or neighbor that you will be out of town, and ask him/her to pick up your mail and newspapers, because a packed mailbox or a stack of newspapers at your front door signals would-be burglars that you are not there. If you would like someone to check on your home while you are away, contact your local law enforcement agency. If you live in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction, call us at 727-582-6200, and a deputy or Volunteer Patrol member will be glad to conduct a vacation home check.

4. Whether you are taking a long trip out of town or driving the pedestrian-packed beach streets, be extra vigilant behind the wheel. Drive defensively. Make sure everyone is properly buckled up and using the appropriate child safety restraints. Allot extra time to get where you’re going to prevent rushing and making careless, dangerous mistakes. Conversely, if you are the pedestrian, be on the lookout for distracted drivers, use crosswalks, and always be aware of your surroundings. 

5. If you are at least 21 years old and choose to drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Be mindful of area laws and ordinances related to the possession of open containers in public, and never accept a drink from a stranger. Know your limits, and remember that time in the sun maximizes the effects of alcohol. Of course, NEVER drink and drive. Instead, designate a sober friend or use taxi services and ride-share apps.

A little planning along with a dose of common sense and good judgment can go a long way toward making sure your Spring Break is fun, and above all, safe.  
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 8:46:00 AM

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