Commentary: Help keep kids and letter carriers safe this summer

By Richard Maher
Corporate Communications
U.S. Postal Service

Summer is here and kids are getting out of school and will be outside playing. Young children are impulsive and unpredictable, and can have little understanding of dangerous conditions. While U.S. Postal Service letter carriers are professional drivers and trained to be cautious and defensive behind the wheel, our carriers— and all drivers— must be extra careful as summer approaches.
Parents need to explain to their children the dangers of playing near streets and driveways, running into the street without looking, or standing behind a parked vehicle. Children love to run up to their carrier and get the mail. However, the Postal Service asks parents help to keep their children and our delivery of the mail safe, because a small child approaching a mail truck may not always be visible by the driver.
The Postal Service asks all parents to tell their children to stay away from postal vehicles, including those parked on the street while the carrier is walking the block delivering mail. If they have curbside delivery, make sure kids wait until the carrier has driven away before they retrieve the mail.
Summer is also a good time to review dog bite prevention tips. Make your children responsible pet owners. Ensure kids obey the rules about keeping your pet restrained and do not let Rover roam. Remind children to securely close doors and latch gates as they come and go. Any dog will bite under certain circumstances, even the loveable pet who is part of your family.
Do not take mail from your carrier in front of your dog, who may feel its family member is being threatened and act to protect them. If your letter carrier comes to the door to deliver a package, place your dog in another room and close the door before accepting mail.
Almost 3,000 letter carriers were bitten by dogs last year, but that number pales in comparison to the 4.5 million Americans bitten— most of whom were children. Your dog may be familiar with its own family’s children, but that does not guarantee how it will interact with all children. Kids playing in the neighborhood— running and yelling— can trigger a dog’s natural instinct to chase and catch fleeing prey. Protect the children in your neighborhood, as well as your community service providers, by always keeping your dog restrained and controlled.
Working together, we can keep our children and the folks who deliver your mail safe this summer.