Halloween safety tips


| bdoda@queenscourier.com |

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While having fun is a prerequisite for any Halloween, safety should never take a backseat.

With the devastation the city suffered during Hurricane Sandy, many will be forced to forego trick-or-treating, but for those that do there are several safety tips that should be followed.

Con Ed offered some tips post-Sandy safety tips:

  • Avoid any downed electrical wires or equipment. Treat any wire that’s in the street or on lawns as if it’s carrying electricity, which can carry painful shocks. They also should avoid any puddles or standing water, which can conduct electricity. More than 5,000 wires fell during the storm
  • Be careful crossing streets, especially at corners with no red lights. Hold on to younger brothers, sisters and friends when crossing the street. Be sure to look both ways.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking even if the street is lighted, but definitely if Hurricane Sandy snuffed out street lights.
  • Children are urged to be careful near Con Edison work sites in their neighborhoods.

In the most recent data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an average of 20 pedestrians were killed each Halloween from 2005-2009, a 61 percent increase from the number of pedestrian deaths on any given day.

With Halloween falling on a school day, many children will be out trick-or-treating for candy after sunset. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings and be patient with the droves of trick-or-treaters crossing city streets. Motorist vigilance is extra important because many children will not cross at crosswalks and “dart out” in front of cars.

New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital provided tips on maximizing Halloween fun while minimizing potential danger:

• Always go trick-or-treating with your children. Do not let your children enter a stranger’s home or apartment.

• Do not let your children eat any candy before they get home and you examine it.

• Make sure your children throw away any unwrapped foods or candies.

• If your children are old enough to trick-or-treat by themselves, have them go in groups.

• If your children are trick-or-treating at night, make sure their costumes are bright in color, or have them wear reflectors.

• If your children are walking on dark streets, have them take a flashlight. If they are walking in apartment buildings, accompany them inside.

For the tech savvy, AT&T has compiled a list of tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween:

• Make sure cell phones are fully charged before leaving the house.

• Pre-program contact information of parents and emergency numbers into your child’s phone and teach them how to access the numbers.

• Establish boundaries. Childrens’ trick-or-treating routes should be in familiar areas in the community. Many services, including AT&T’s FamilyMap Viewer, allow parents to locate a child’s exact whereabouts from their phone or computer.

• Set up periodic alarms with Halloween-themed tones as a reminder for trick-or-treaters to text or call home to check in between candy collecting stops.

And the most important tip to remember…have fun.