301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
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FROM THE SHERIFFíS DESK Volume 2, Nr. 10
By Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
LETíS KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE ON HALLOWEEN
This month we celebrate Halloween. After years of these activities itís easy to think that the very important safety tips designed to protect our trick-or-treaters are well known. But a study by Safe Kids Worldwide, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, produced some real surprises.
The poll surveyed 935 parents who had children 12 years old or younger. It was no surprise to learn that 89% of the parents reported that their child participates in Halloween activities and 73% of the children make trick-or-treating their number one activity. But only 35% said they talk to their child every year about Halloween safety concerns. And 14% said they have never even discussed it.
Another surprise was that 12% reported that a child aged 7 or younger was permitted to trick-or-treat without adult supervision. Those may be situations where older siblings participate with them, but it does raise concerns. Teens and pre-teens may be easily distracted during these activities, leading to potential danger for younger children.
Even though parents are concerned about their childís safety, they vary in the attention they pay to safety features of Halloween costumes. For example, an overall 75% say they insist upon selecting a costume with safety in mind, but only 31% require flame-resistant material.
Naturally, parents have widespread concerns about accidents and similar problems. There were 77% who expressed one or more such specific fears. Pedestrian injury was the largest with 31% listing it.
On the other hand, 17% reported that they had no such concerns at all. Yet on average more than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle accidents on Halloween night (4:00 pm to 10 pm) than any other night in the year.
Safe Kids Worldwide concludes their report with a listing of meaningful tips and suggestions. While there are other similar lists available, theirs has been produced to address many of the specifics they learned from the survey. (You can read the entire survey report at www.safekids.org which is an excellent website for parents to visit.)
Here are their suggestions:
Children under 12 should trick-or-treat with an adult.
They should walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible. If they have to use the road, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Cross streets at the corner using traffic signals and crosswalks.
Look left, right and left again when crossing. Walk, donít run, across the street.
Drivers should slow down and be extra-alert in residential neighborhoods.
Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier than usual so any trick-or-treaters who are present can spot you more quickly.
Be sure to eliminate any and all distractions inside your car so your full attention is focused properly.
COSTUMES AND TREATS:
Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers, and select light-colored costumes to improve visibility.
Choose face paint and make-up instead of masks, which can obstruct a childís vision. (Be sure to select non-toxic makeup.)
Be certain the trick-or-treater doesnít carry any sticks, swords or other sharp objects.
Have them carry glow sticks or flashlights to be better seen by drivers. (Liquid in glow sticks is hazardous, so remind anyone using them not to chew on or break them.)
Check treats they receive for any signs of tampering. Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded or torn.
You can read the entire Safe Kids Worldwide report atwww.safekids.org which is an excellent website for parents to visit.
RED RIBBON WEEK
The last full week of October has been designated as Red Ribbon Week.
Red Ribbon Week, created in honor of an undercover DEA agent killed in Mexico while fighting their drug trafficking activities, has become a powerful statement in support of substance abuse education and prevention.
The citizens in his hometown in California honored his memory by wearing red ribbons. The practice quickly spread far and wide. American military services and an ever-widening range of other organizations promoted activities to support the struggle to combat the use of illegal drugs and to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
It has become the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign in the USA with approximately 80 million people participating in Red Ribbon events every year.
This year it will be celebrated October 23rd to the 31st. So be sure to support the cause by wearing a red ribbon during that week.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: