Halloween is here and on Tuesday millions of children across America, and thousands in the central San Joaquin Valley, will be getting dressed in their favorite costumes to celebrate the return of this much-anticipated holiday. I can remember loving everything about Halloween as a child: Going from door to door in our neighborhood, collecting candy and treats, while glowing pumpkins lit up the streets. All to the squeals of children hurrying to the next house. These are some of my most treasured memories. How can it possibly get better? Well now, as a father, Halloween really has gotten that much better as I experience it through my children’s eyes. But, with this new found joy also comes a whole different set of feelings on Halloween night.
For moms and dads the dangers of Halloween go beyond candy concerns, especially when it comes to pedestrian safety. Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth-leading cause of injury-related deaths in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. On Halloween specifically, children are twice as likely to be hit and killed by a vehicle than on any other day of the year. October ranks No. 2 in motor vehicle deaths with 3,550. The National Safety Council reports these deaths occurred when pedestrians failed to properly cross roads and intersections.
With this information in mind here are a few tips to remember as you head out for a fun filled evening of trick or treating.
▪ “Be safe, be seen.” Carry a flashlight and give children a glow necklace to wear or find a place to apply reflective tape on their costumes.
▪ Follow the rules of the road. Always cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks.
▪ Look in each direction before crossing. Be sure to look left, right, and left again before crossing the road. Be alert at all times.
As a father and member of the CHP, I would like your family to enjoy the night safely. Remember safety is everyone’s responsibility. If your plans don’t include trick or treating, and you will be driving instead, please be extra cautious. Plan ahead, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and remember California law requires you activate your vehicle’s headlights 30 minutes after sunset. On Tuesday, sunset is scheduled for 6:02 p.m. which means your vehicle’s headlights must be activated no later than 6:32 p.m. to be in compliance with the law. Also by activating your vehicle’s headlights early you will have the ability to spot trick or treaters from a greater distance.
We all want to avoid tragedy, so please keep these tips in mind when traveling by foot or automobile this Halloween. When we all work together as a community great things happen. Let’s make sure 2017 is a safe year for children to enjoy this fun and exciting holiday.