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Summer campers playing it safe in Medford

MEDFORD — More than 200 newly-deputized safety “ambassadors” are on the streets, parks and pools of the city encouraging other local youth to stay safe while enjoying summer’s final weeks.

The small army of Medford Recreation campers ages 7-12 learned the do’s and don’ts of summer safety this week to enhance skills they picked up earlier in the summer. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke are the summer initiative’s lead supporters.

“If we save the life of one child through this program, if we help prevent one tragedy, we have accomplished our goal,” Ryan said.

Ryan travels to communities around Middlesex County bordering Boston to talk to summer campers and staff about safety. She estimated she has addressed more than 1,000 children and summer camp staff in the past several weeks, including a visit last week to Malden.

“We usually get a great response and the children are very interested in the topics we present,” Ryan said. “They get a lot of good information in their own homes and at camp and we like to enhance it.”

Launched in 2013, the initiative has educated Ryan and the hundreds of young people who participate in it. She learned Middlesex County recorded 33 accidental drownings from 2001 to 2013. Since 2013, only one accidental drowning death is on record in Middlesex County.

The summer ambassadors are urged to focus on and be aware of five summer safety risks:

Water and window hazard dangers, children alone in hot cars; bicycle safety, and fireworks.

Ryan said summer campers can be “ambassadors of safety” to spread the word on how to be safe this summer.

“We have had five cases of children falling out of windows this summer. We do not want that to happen to you,” she told her newly-minted Medford ambassadors.

She said a thermometer placed on a car dashboard on a typical hot August day can register 110 degrees within 10 minutes.

“That’s not safe for anyone. Speak up if you see children alone in cars on a hot day or any day and remind grownups that you should not be left alone in a car yourself,” the DA said.

Ryan also reminded the campers that Massachusetts law calls for anyone under the age of 16 to wear a bicycle helmet, “even in your own driveway,” and also warned against the use of fireworks or sparklers, except by licensed professionals.

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