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Mangano & Safe Kids Nassau County: Be Safe On The Street While You Trick-or-Treat

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and the Nassau County Department of Health join Safe Kids Nassau County in promoting pedestrian safety awareness this Halloween. With the days getting shorter, children are likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them and the excitement of the holiday can make everyone less cautious.

“Halloween is an exciting time of the year, and to help ensure a safe and fun-filled day I urge parents to keep safety in mind while enjoying this exciting day,” said County Executive Mangano.

“Halloweenfestivities give opportunities for parents, teachers and child caregivers to educateour young children aboutpedestrian and motor vehicle safety tips,” said Rosemarie Ennis, Director of Safe Kids New York State.

Operation Safe Sweets:

“Operation Safe Sweets” was implemented in 2004 and is designed to protect children from sex offenders on Halloween through monitoring and randomly checking on convicted sex offenders as Halloween approaches. The County Department of Probation has conducted “Operation Safe Sweets” for seven years now with great success. This year, Probation Officers will visit more than 200 homes to ensure sex offenders are in compliance with their probation conditions. Second, teams of Probation Officers are deployed throughout the County on Halloween to conduct random, unannounced visits to sex offenders’ homes to ensure compliance. Offenders who violate the court-ordered conditions are subject to substantial terms of imprisonment. It is a multi-pronged approach that begins withthe Probation Department sending a written notice to all convicted sex offenders reiterating the court-mandated limitations regarding contact with children.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our children,” said Mangano. “Our law enforcement agencies are joining together to ensure that Nassau children have a safe and sweet Halloween.”

Tips for Parents:

Safe Kids recommends that children under age 10 do not trick-or-treat without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they go in a group and they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting. Parents must also remind kids to:

  • Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk – don’t run, across the street.
  • Walk on well-lit sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk in familiar areas with minimal street crossings.
  • Be a safe pedestrian around cars. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible instead. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.

Tips for Drivers:

Drivers need to do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm. Safe Kids also reminds motorists to be extra careful this Halloween and recommends that drivers:

  • Be especially alert. Children are excited and may move in unpredictable ways. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour period between 5:30-9:30 P.M.
  • Drive more slowly. Slow down and anticipate heavier than usual pedestrian traffic.
  • Lights on. Be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances.
  • Reduce distractions. Reduce distractions in your car such as talking on the phone or eating so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Although pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents also need to keep in mind that there are other hazards for their children on this holiday. For more tips on how to keep kids safe while walking on Halloween and throughout the year, visit http://www.usa.safekids.org and search Halloween.

About Nassau County Safe Kids:

Safe Kids Nassau County, is a coalition of public and private organizations working together to prevent injuries to children. Unintentional injuries are the number one killer of children ages 2 to 14. Local statistics have identified the need to focus on: child passenger safety, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and fire/burn safety. Safe Kids Nassau County coalition members have a passion to protect children and help them grow up safe and healthy. The North Shore-LIJ Health System serves as the lead organization for the Nassau County Safe Kids Coalition who’s 57 health agencies; organizations and hospitals membership collaboratively service its county’s 4 million children.