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Hudson Valley Press

October 31st, 2012

Police and AAA urge use of safe Halloween habits

NEWBURGH - Halloween is here! And because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, the City of Newburgh Police Department and AAA are urging both parents and motorists to stay alert on October 31st.

“On Halloween evening, we’re placing our children in probably some of the most dangerous traffic situations you could imagine,” said Police Chief Michael Ferrara.  Children are four times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “And while Halloween lands on a Wednesday this year, many festivities often take place throughout the weekend before, putting a large number of both youth and adult partygoers on the road at that time,” said Donna Galasso, Assistant Director of Traffic Safety, AAA New York.

Chief Ferrara offered these tips from AAA New York to parents for their children on Halloween:

• Be bright at night; use reflective tape on costumes, wear light colors, and carry flashlights with fresh batteries for extra visibility.
• Don’t wear a costume that obstructs vision; instead try non-toxic face paint.
• Look all ways and listen for traffic before crossing, and review pedestrian safety rules before you leave the house.
• Cross at corners, not between parked cars or mid-block.
• If there are no sidewalks, always walk facing traffic, on the left side of the road.
• Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult or trustworthy teen; older children should be given boundaries and should communicate with their parents along the way.
• If possible, try to avoid cutting through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
• Obey all traffic signs and signals, and travel with caution in residential areas.  What seems like a small difference in speed - just 5 mph - can literally mean the difference between life and death!
• Scan far ahead and watch attentively for children - they may be excitedly running from house to house, crossing at unexpected places.
• Turn on your headlights to make your vehicle more visible.
• Pay close attention and avoid distractions, even after traditional trick-or-treat hours - older children and teens may be out without adult supervision.

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