By Katherine Hammer
21st Security Forces Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — One of my favorite aspects of this time of year is being able to enjoy the outdoors. The weather is getting warm, we all start seeing the neighborhood kids in their yards, out riding their bikes or throwing the football in the yard. Unfortunately, we also sometimes see young children wandering around the streets alone or left unattended in vehicles.
To ensure compliance with Colorado laws, Peterson Air Force Base has developed requirements and minimum ages for unattended children. It’s important to remember, however, that parents and guardians must consider the physical, emotional and psychological maturity of their children. Some children, because of a mental or physical disability, should not be given the same degree of self-management. Requirements for unattended children on Peterson AFB include:
• Children ages 5 and up may be in the yard of residence with adult supervision having visual sight and/or being within hearing distance.
• Children ages 6 and up may walk to and from school without adult supervision.
• Children ages 7 and up may be unattended outside as long as they have access to adult assistance.
• No child under 10 may be left unattended in a car. For those children 10 and up, the keys need to be removed and the emergency brake should be engaged.
• At the age of 10, children may be left without adult supervision in their quarters for up to two hours as long as they have ready access to an adult by telephone. At the age of 11, alone time may exceed two hours with ready telephone access to an adult.
• Children ages 12-14 may be left alone without a sitter for more than two hours only during the daytime hours and before curfew.
• Children ages 16 and up may be left alone over night for up to five consecutive days; however, there must be some type of adult supervision available to make periodic checks.
• Youth must be 11 years old (or a sixth grader) and be babysitter trained by the American Red Cross, or equivalent, in order to babysit. Babysitting and first aid classes are offered monthly. Contact the Youth Center at 556-7220 for more information.
When violations are reported to the Base Defense Operations Center, security forces quickly react and initiate a child abuse or neglect response. Military offenders are subject to administrative, judicial and non-judicial punishment as deemed appropriate by their commander. Civilian offenders may be subject to prosecution by local authorities.
Don’t forget Peterson has a curfew for those old enough to be left without supervision.
In accordance with Colorado Springs ordinance 9.2.102: Loitering, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years of age to loiter or to aimlessly drive or ride about on any street, parking lot, park or eating place, whether public or private, without the consent or permission of the owner. Curfews are in place Friday and Saturday nights from midnight-6 a.m., and Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
Enjoy your summer and help keep the community safe by following youth supervision and curfew guidelines. Go to http://www.peterson.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120626-052.pdf to see the complete child supervision guidelines, or contact the youth center at 556-7220, or family advocacy at 556-8943. To report a violation of these guidelines, contact the Base Defense Operation Center, also known as the law enforcement desk, at 556-4000.