October 31, 2006

Abrahams Offers Halloween Safety Tips

Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) would like to keep all Nassau’s residents safe this Halloween and offers these safety tips:

Before Going Out:

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

Remind Trick-or-Treaters:

  • By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.
  • Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.
  • Only trick-or-treat in well-known neighborhoods at homes that have a porch light on.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
  • Always walk. Never run across a street.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
  • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will.
  • Never consume unwrapped food items or open beverages that may be offered.
  • No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.
  • Law Enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

Don’t Let Children Go Overboard:

  • Serve your children a filling meal before trick or treating, and they won't be tempted to eat any candy before they bring it home for you to check.
  • Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at ahouse may seem like fun, but they need to know the other side of the coin as well; clean up and damages can ruin Halloween. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they've made.

Choosing a Safe Costume:

  • Help your child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make it fire proof, the eye holes should be large enough for good peripheral vision.
  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.

Pumpkin Carving:

  • Youngsters always want to help with the pumpkin carving but small children should never be allowed to use a sharp knife. There are many kits available that come with tiny saws that work better then knives and are safer, although you can be cut by them as well. It's best to let the children clean out the pumpkin and draw a face on it, which you can carve for them.

Keep Your Home Safe for Visitors:

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.

By teaching your children basic everyday safety such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, looking both ways before crossing streets, and crossing when the lights tell them to, it will help make them safer when they are out trick-or-treating.

Make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for your children, and they'll carry on the tradition that you taught them to their own families some day!