As we rapidly approach All-Hallows-Eve, our school aged children are already planning their Halloween costumes and travel routes. And like every Halloween, our young ghouls, goblins and princesses will be parading the neighborhood roads. This year, October 31st falls on a weekday (Monday) with school buses discharging passengers at the end of the school day and motorists returning home for work. During 1995, pedestrian deaths accounted for approximately 15% of all motor-vehicle-related deaths sustained by children aged 0-19 years in the United States. Because of the levels of participation in Halloween-related activities by elementary and middle school-aged children, these children might be more likely to sustain pedestrian injuries on that evening than on other evenings. Nearly 94% of children between the ages of four and twelve will be participating in Halloween activities this year – and so it behooves all adults to be reminded of some very important safety tips regarding this very special evening.
Remember to Wait For School Buses
Stop when the lights on school buses are flashing.
Maryland law states that vehicles must come to a complete stop on both sides of the street if there is no physical divider or barrier. Drivers who pass the bus before all lights have ceased flashing may face the following consequences:
- Drivers who pass school buses while the lights are flashing will receive a citation that carries a maximum payable fine of $570 and a 3-point penalty.
- Drivers who stop but then proceed while the lights are flashing will receive a citation that carries a maximum payable fine of $570 and a 2-point penalty.
Children are not always aware of their surroundings and assume that drivers will stop for them. Youngsters also dart into the road without looking first for traffic. Allow room for the frequent stops that will occur during the Halloween afternoon drop off.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Halloween. Just Be Aware.
You don’t need to be scared of the ghosts and goblins that come to your house this Halloween, just cautious. The Baltimore County Police Department suggests a few precautions this year before you open your door.
It may seem easier to leave your front door open with only the storm door closed, but please don’t. Storm doors were not meant to act as deterrents to thieves and robbers. Keep your main door locked and don’t open it until you’ve looked through a window or the door’s peephole. Open your door to only those children and adults you know and recognize.
The Department advises trick-or-treaters to be aware of their surroundings as well. Visit only those neighbors who are familiar to you. Remind children not to eat goodies before they get home. When they do arrive home, parents need to check the contents of their children’s bags. Look for such things as unwrapped candy, loose pieces of candy, and fruit. When checking candy wrappers, look for unusual markings or bumps and bulges. These could be signs of tampering. Throw away all unwrapped goodies. If something appears suspicious, err on the side of caution and get rid of it.
Additional Safety suggestions
- Adults should accompany young children, and older kids should travel in groups.
- Obey all traffic laws. Walk on sidewalks whenever possible and cross at crosswalks or corners. Never cross between parked cars.
- Do not go into any vehicles or homes while trick-or-treating. Wait outside for treats.
- Respect other people’s property. Don’t destroy it.
- Stay in your own neighborhood.
- Parents, make sure masks have large holes for the eyes. It is easy for little ones to trip and fall on a dark night. If possible, use make-up instead of a mask.
- Give children flashlights to carry with them. It also makes it easier for others, especially motorists, to see them.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween Everyone!
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