Friday, October 31, 2014

Keep Kids Safe on Hallowe'en

I remember weird things. I mean, I have a really good memory of very early events, but aside from that, odd or random interactions and events really seem to stick. Like, one Hallowe'en when I was maybe 10 (I was trick or treating without my mom, so I'm guessing on the age) a neighbour girl called me out for crossing the street on an angle. We'd been warned in school not to zigzag across the streets while trick or treating, but to do one side of the road first, then the other. I know she was coming from a good place, but I was still peeved. I had looked carefully before crossing, and I was just crossing once. It stuck with me, and I think of it every Hallowe'en.

toddler in bat costume Halloween
Yes, that's a harness. Safety first! Actually, I think it's a Safety First harness.
It kept a wiggly runner close to me on a busy and dark night fueled with sugar.
Safety is a big issue, with tons of kids roaming the streets in the dark on Hallowe'en night. Both drivers and trick-or-treaters need to be extra careful to ensure everyone gets home in one piece to enjoy their candy and maybe a spooky movie or two.

A national charity, Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. They have teamed up with FedEx Canada to provide the Walk This Way pedestrian safety program year-round, providing education, resources and support for parents. On Halloween, they are urging all road users to drive with extra care so that all ghosts and goblins, as well as their parents and grandparents, will stay safe and sound this ghoulish night.  

“With it getting darker outside earlier, Halloween is a great time for parents and children to talk about pedestrian safety, especially when it comes to crossing the street,” says Louise Logan, Parachute’s President and CEO.  “Set a good example, practice with your children and make road safety part of your conversation.”

Child pedestrian incidents are a leading cause of death for Canadian children under age 14. More than 30 children are killed and 2,400 are seriously injured in a typical year. Most incidents happen between 3 and 6 p.m., when drivers are coming home from work and children are walking home from school or after-school activities.

Here are some tips from Parachute to help keep everyone safe this Hallowe'en:
  • An adult or responsible older child should accompany children under age nine, since they may lack the skills to cross the street on their own. 
  • Teach your child to stop at the curb, look left, right and left again, and to listen for oncoming traffic. 
  • Select costumes with bright colours to increase your child’s visibility and choose face paint instead of masks. 
  • Always cross at crosswalks, street corners or intersections – it’s unsafe to cross between parked cars or other obstacles. 
  • Stay on the sidewalk when walking from house to house, and if there is no sidewalk, walk beside the road, facing traffic so drivers can see you.
  • Drive slowly in residential areas where children are more likely to be trick-or-treating. 
  • Watch out for kids, many of whom will be wearing costumes that limit their vision. 
  • Reduce distractions, such as cellphones or loud music, and stay alert.
skeleton in pirate bandana Halloween
Have a safe and happy Hallowe'en!
Don't end up like this guy ...

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