By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
Late last month two tragedies struck members of east Texas.
In Greenville, a 12-year-old was shot and killed while playing with a gun that was left out in a house, and in Sulphur Springs, a 10-year-old girl was killed in a car wreck while not wearing a seat belt.
According to Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews, these tragedies can be prevented in the future if parents teach children about proper safety practices.
“Safety systems are put in there for a reason,” he said. “You have to use them properly in order for them to work well.”
Crews said parents should always make sure their children are properly strapped in a seat belt, especially since a child’s body is more fragile than a grown person’s.
With the current political climate, the rate of firearm sales have gone up tremendously. Crews said proper gun safety should be taught to children, and owners need to lock up firearms while not in use.
“I have a 6-year-old that I teach gun safety to,” he said, adding that none of his children have access to his weapons, since they are locked away. “If you teach the kids about the weapons, the more they will respect that they are dangerous.”
Crews said it’s when children are not taught proper gun safety is when things go badly.
“A child that is not taught about them is not going to know what they can do,” he said.
Since school is out for the summer, more children will be riding their bikes around Commerce.
Parents need to be out supervising their children when riding bikes and teach them bike safety, according to Crews.
“Have knee pads, a helmet, and parent supervision, especially if you’re going to be on a road with any type of traffic,” he said.
The Commerce Police Department hosts an annual bike rodeo at Walmart that teaches bike safety. A current date has not yet been set.
Another safety issue for children is household chemicals.
Crews said safety locks can be purchased to keep children from getting into chemicals, and to keep the number to the poison emergency hotline in their phone. The number is 800-222-1222.
The CPD also has two other resources for keeping households safe.
At no cost, citizens can bring in their unwanted firearms or old perscription drugs and the department will dispose of both by melting them down in a smelter.
Crews said he doesn’t expect to have many takers on getting rid of firearms.
For parents and citizens wanting more hands-fon safety, Crews said they can call the police station and set up a safety talk for their group or organization.
“They can call and set up a safety talk throughout the year,” he said.