Be Safe on the Street …While You Trick-or-Treat
Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and the Nassau County Department of Health join Safe Kids Nassau County in promoting pedestrian safety awareness this Halloween. With the days getting shorter, children are likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them and the excitement of the holiday can make everyone less cautious. A Safe Kids 2011 study revealed that only one third of parents talk to their children yearly about Halloween safety. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle incidents on Halloween between 4-10 pm as compared to the same hours on other days throughout the year.
“Halloween is an exciting time of the year, and to help ensure a safe and fun-filled day I urge parents to keep safety in mind while enjoying this exciting day,” said County Executive Mangano.
“Halloween festivities give opportunities for parents, teachers and child caregivers to educate our young children about pedestrian and motor vehicle safety tips.” said Rosemarie Ennis, Director of Safe Kids New York State.
Tips for Parents
Safe Kids recommends that children under age 12 do not trick-or-treat without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they go in a group and remain on the predetermined route with good lighting. Parents must also remind kids to:
· Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk; don’t run, across the street.
· Walk on well-lit sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk in familiar areas with minimal street crossings.
· Be a safe pedestrian around cars. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
· Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible instead. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers. (Liquid in glow sticks is hazardous, so parents should remind children not to chew on or break them.)
Tips for Drivers
Drivers need to do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm. Safe Kids also reminds motorists to be extra careful this Halloween and recommends that drivers:
- Be especially alert. Children are excited and may move in unpredictable ways. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour period between 5:30-9:30 p.m.
- Drive more slowly. Slow down and anticipate heavier than usual pedestrian traffic.
- Lights on. Be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances.
- Reduce distractions. Reduce distractions in your car such as talking on the phone or eating so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
Although pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents also need to keep in mind that there are other hazards for their children on this holiday. For more tips on how to keep kids safe while walking on Halloween and throughout the year, visit http://www.usa.safekids.org and search Halloween.
About Nassau County Safe Kids:
Safe Kids Nassau County is a coalition of public and private organizations working together to prevent injuries to children. Unintentional injuries are the number one killer of children ages 2 to 14. Local statistics have identified the need to focus on: child passenger safety, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and fire/burn safety. Safe Kids Nassau County coalition members have a passion to protect children and help them grow up safe and healthy
The North Shore-LIJ Health System serves as the lead organization for the Nassau County Safe Kids Coalition who’s 57 health agencies, organizations and hospital membership collaboratively service its county’s 4 million children.