Rules and Regs help keep our kids safe

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla --

For Team MacDill, the safety of children who live, play and go to school at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida is a top priority. Therefore regulations are in place to ensure their safety remains uncompromised.

Specifically, there are MacDill Air Force Base Instructions (MACDILLAFBI) that provide guidelines for military personnel and civilians to follow to maintain their own safety. There are also consequences if those guidelines are not followed.

For children, there are rules in place to keep them safe as well. For example, when riding bicycles, skateboarding, roller-skating or rollerblading, parents and guardians must ensure their child is wearing the proper protective equipment.

Additionally, small children must be accompanied by an adult, and older children must be made aware of how to remain safe at all times.

“The Tampa Bay area is an outstanding place to be assigned, but there are some additional precautions parents should take and educate their children, on like native species to Florida such as snakes and alligators,” said Richard Lee, housing manager assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Staying out of ponds and drainage ditches, for example, will help keep you out of their habitat and from potential injury.”

When walking to General Clarence Tinker K-8 School here, children ages five and under must be accompanied by an adult or another child at least nine years of age. For children playing in base housing, anyone ages six to eight must be in a specific area where someone can keep an eye  on them and the child must always know where that someone is at. Children ages nine to 15 only need occasional supervision with recommended checks every two to three hours. Teens ages 16 to 18 are free to be out in the community without direct supervision, as long as they have permission.

Additionally, there is an on base curfew for minors. According to MACDILLAFBI 31-200, “unsupervised family members and guests under the age of 16 will not loiter, play, drive, walk, or wander on any part of MacDill, including all housing areas, between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights, and 12 to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights and evenings before legal holidays.”

This means that after curfew hours, a military sponsor, parent or another responsible adult must escort underage family members, children and guests if they plan to be out and about. Any violators will be detained by the 6th Security Forces Squadron, and the military sponsor or parent will be notified and required to respond and receive the child into their custody.

“Installation rules such as MacDill Instruction 31-200 address juvenile curfew and supervision requirements for children,” said Lee. “The instruction covers the levels of supervision based on recommendations from Family Advocacy, and outlines both community and inside the home supervision requirements based on the child's age.”

Drivers should especially keep an eye out when driving on base. Children can be very unpredictable, and it is up to members of Team MacDill to be fully aware of their surroundings.

According MACDILLAFBI 31-116, driving on MacDill is a privilege, not a right. So it’s important that all drivers follow all traffic rules and maintain situational awareness.

When driving on MacDill, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. In areas such as the child development center (CDC) during operational hours, base housing and Tinker K-8 School the limit is 15 mph.

Individuals who do not adhere to the on base traffic laws risk suspension or revocation of their driving privileges.

“Every parent wants their children to grow up safe, happy, and healthy, and proper supervision helps ensure we protect our children,” said Lee. “Proper supervision can help keep them safe and avoid injury or property damage.”

Don’t forget to keep your eyes open when traveling around MacDill. There are places all over where kids are known to play. Following the rules can keep them, as well as yourself, safe and out of harm’s way. So be aware, because there are children everywhere.