Our parks are full of residents and visitors enjoying the open space, exercising, or in the case of the little ones, burning energy before bedtime. It is difficult at times, with the mix of ages and activities, to avoid accidents. Kids just want to have fun and they will, sometimes at the expense of the safety of themselves and others. Safety of all our visitors and residents is priority one, for all commissioners and staff in the city. That being said, it is the responsibility of parents to teach their children to be good citizens in every way. Using good manners when speaking or playing with others is not a choice but a necessity. Children will learn from parents how to use a common sense approach to situations and how to interact politely with others. That includes knowing when to use caution and give the right of way to younger toddlers or the elderly using sidewalks in the parks and around the city. There is a specific location, the Skate Park at the Sunny Isles Town Center Park, where children can skateboard and rollerblade without worrying about running over a pedestrian. To enter the Skate Park, patrons must carry their boards and skates through Town Center Park to avoid conflict with other users. Additionally, the only wheeled items allowed in the main area of Town Center Park are strollers, wheelchairs and rehabilitative walkers. Children or toddlers riding toys, small tricycles and bicycles are prohibited by ordinance. This is one of many park rules which were established to ensure the safety and welfare of all who use the park. The city recognizes that children need a safe place to learn to ride a bike, roller skate or ride a scooter. For this reason a bike path was built that runs along North Bay Road from 174th to 183rd Streets. This path was dedicated on April 11, 2010 and yet few people know about it. It’s a great place to use your wheeled toys safely. Children under the age of 12 should be supervised at all times in our parks, for their own safety. Even though our community police officers patrol the parks, they cannot be everywhere at once, a child alone could become a victim. Children should never be left alone to play without that buffer provided by an adult’s judgment in critical situations. That is where parents and the community at large have to be involved. Everyone must work together to safeguard our youth and the elderly. From sharing the sidewalk to looking out for strangers, proactive decisions by parents, teachers, and city staff will help keep everyone safe and healthy. What is the saying? “It takes a village to raise a child.” If there are concerns in the park at any time, patrons may call 305-792-1706 to get help with the situation or discuss it with a city park employee on site. As always, if a life-threatening emergency exists, call 911.