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School zone speed limits enforced year-round; other summer safety tips

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MISSOULA, Mont. - School is nearly out for the summer in Missoula, and that means kids are getting outside to stay entertained.

NBC Montana dug into summer safety tips for parents before they let the kids loose.

Local law enforcement officers say drivers can still get ticketed for driving over the speed limit in school zones during summer months. They say they still enforce a 25-mph speed limit.

Police say schools continue to attract kids during summer months to playgrounds or for classes, free lunches or other programs. They say they also want drivers to maintain slow driving habits around school zones.

"The speed limits around school zones, that's definitely something we've got to be watching out for," said Missoula parent Zach Weidenaar.

"I really think that's awesome, slowing people down in school zones and being consciousness of all the little kiddos and stuff," said parent Kat Hosac.

Hosac says she definitely sees an increase of traffic during the summer months. She and her two kids frequent the Westside Park next to Lowell School in Missoula for their water park.

"(I) mainly (focus on) dehydration, sun protection," she said.

Even her daughter Dakota, 8, knows safety comes first. "I make sure to bring sunscreen," she said.

Safe Kids Worldwide is an nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries. They say kids should hydrate before any activity and every 15 to 20 minutes during an activity.

SKW analyzed school zone safety habits of nearly 40,000 students nationwide and found nearly 80 percent of students exercise unsafe street crossing habits.

They say while teenagers make up more than a quarter of people between the ages of zero and 19, teens account for almost half of all pedestrian fatalities.

From the playground to the skate park, seventh grader Julian Nicholson rides through summer on his scooter.

He says Missoula's skate park gets busy this time of year.

"That's one of the problems, too, because people run into each other all the time," he said.

Nicholson says he makes sure to always wear a helmet.

"I haven't had too many bad crashes, but recently I knocked myself out over here, so I just always wear a helmet anyway," he said.

Nicholson says he was wearing a helmet at the time, but the incident reassured why he chooses to always wear it.

"My friend got a brain injury from doing something over here and he crashed," he said.

SKW says these are all good topics to review with your child before heading outside for summer.

You can find more information about dangers in school zones here and information about pedestrian safety here.

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