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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Greenwich Cops Promote Halloween Safety

GREENWICH, Conn. – As your little goblins and ghouls set out for treats Monday night, the Greenwich Police Department wants parents to be aware of the potential dangers children face on the streets of Greenwich as they go door-to-door on Halloween.

“Don’t forget Halloween is on a weeknight this year. We hope that all motorists will be hyper-vigilant for children and pedestrians as the youngest treat-or-treaters will be out about at rush-hour,” said Deputy Chief Jim Heavey.

A study conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that from 1975 to 1996, the number of deaths among young pedestrians was four times higher on Halloween evening. Halloween poses special risks to young pedestrians.

“The pedestrian skills of children are limited by several factors related to their physical size and developmental stage,” said Lt. Kraig Gray, spokesman for the Greenwich Police Department. “For instance, young children may lack the physical ability to cross a street quickly, and their small size limits their visibility to drivers.”

Gray also said children are more likely to choose the shortest rather than the safest route across streets, often darting out between parked cars without evaluating potential traffic threats.

Falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on Halloween, and most of these injuries can be prevented by keeping an eye on your small child during trick-or-treating.

“Remember, Halloween is an extremely exciting kid-friendly holiday, which may cause kids to act out in an unusual way,” said Heavey. “Parents need to be very careful with monitoring their children. Have a safe and happy Halloween.”

For the youngest trick-or-treaters, the Silver Shield Association will be distributing Halloween-inspired Jack-O-Lantern reflective necklaces that can be picked up from the Greenwich Police Sergeants Desk on Monday.

A few more points to consider for a Safe and Happy Halloween from the Greenwich Police Department:

Children should:

• Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than enter houses.

• Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.

• Carry a cell phone and know how to reach you and how to call 911 in an emergency.

• Have their full name and phone number attached to their costume somewhere if they are too young to remember them.

• Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them. Although the risk that your child's Halloween candy has been tampered with is extremely low, there is also the chance that his candy is unwrapped or spoiled.

• Talk only to trusted adults and not to strangers, even if this person knows their name or where they live.

• Have a plan set up should there be a problem or if a child is put into an uncomfortable situation.

• Use costume knives and swords that are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods, children should:

• Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and do not cross yards.

• Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks (where they exist), and do not cross between parked cars.

• Stops at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.

• Wear clothing that is bright, reflective and flame retardant.

• Consider using face paint instead of masks, which can obstruct a child's vision.

• Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.

• Avoid wearing long, baggy or loose costumes or oversized shoes to prevent tripping.

• Remember to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

Parents and adults should:

• Supervise the outing for children under age 12.

• Establish a curfew for older children.

• Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing jack-o-lanterns away from doorways and landings.

• Avoid giving choking or allergy hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys as treats to young children.

• Inspect all candy for safety before children eat it.

• Parents and adults should ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters.

• Make sure children under age 10 are supervised as they cross the street.

• Drive slowly and watch for children in the street and on medians.

• Exit driveways and alleyways carefully.

• Have children get out of cars on the curb side, not on the traffic side.

• If you take the family pet along, be aware that many people and especially children can be frightened by an excited dog. A crowded costume filled street might not be the easiest place to maintain control of even a normally well-behaved dog.

And a few tips about pumpkins :

• Carve pumpkins on stable, flat surfaces with good lighting.

• Have children draw a face on the outside of the pumpkin, then parents should do the cutting.

• Place lighted pumpkins away from curtains and other flammable objects, and do not leave lighted pumpkins unattended.

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