Halloween is supposed to be a time of good fun however it is also a time when children are most vulnerable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. To help ensure a safe holiday, Garden City Police Commissioner Kenneth Jackson, along with Donna Galasso, Assistant Director of Traffic Safety AAA Northeast, offer parents, children and motorists several safety measures:
• Motorists are advised to drive slow and with extreme caution on neighborhood streets. They should be mindful that children trick or treating may not pay attention to moving vehicles. Be mindful that some children may cross in the middle of a block rather than at corners.
• Children should wear light-colored clothing with reflective material that is short enough to prevent tripping. Parents should ensure masks do not obstruct a child’s vision. It is safer to go out during daylight hours, however, children should carry a flashlight in case of delay.
• Adults should accompany young children. Place emergency identification tags discreetly in young children’s clothing in case they become separated from their group.
• Young children should stay within their neighborhood and only visit homes they know. Children should be instructed never to enter a home or vehicle of a stranger and have a planned safe return route home.
• Children should be instructed to watch for traffic, stay on sidewalks where available, obey traffic signals, stay in well-lit areas and avoid cutting across rear yards, alleys and fields. For safety reasons, children should visit houses on one side of the street at a time, crossing only at corners and crosswalks.
• Only give and accept wrapped or packaged candy. A responsible adult should inspect all candy should before consumption.
• Children should be instructed to be courteous and respectful to others when trick or treating, and not be a nuisance or an annoyance to their neighbors. Children should be reminded to avoid pranks such as but not limited to ringing doorbells, throwing eggs, spraying shaving cream or silly string, which can be very dangerous and result in serious injuries to others. Hard plastic or wood props such as daggers or swords should be avoided.
• Homeowners should clear their sidewalks and yards of obstacles and decorations that may be difficult to see in the dark. Children should be kept away from pets. Costumes often frighten a pet.
With regard to youthful exuberance, and the potential for mischief and pranks, parents may wish to accept responsibility and impose curfew times appropriate for age groups as needed. Merchants are requested to limit sales of products that can be used to create mischief. As always, additional police patrols will be on hand.
Parents can pick up AAA Halloween safety bookmarks for their children at Garden City Police Headquarters.
Be alert for any unusual circumstance. Notify the Garden City Police Department of suspicious activity immediately by calling 911. As a reminder, the police non-emergency line is 516-465-4100.
—Submitted by the Garden City Police Department