Police, medical professionals encourage safety for holiday

This Halloween, police departments in the surrounding areas including DuBoistown, South Williamsport and Williamsport will be participating in trick-or-treating and patrolling the streets to ensure safety through the allotted time frame, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Chief Damon Hagan, Williamsport Police Department, along with Chief Carl Finnerty, South Williamsport Police Department, spoke about safety tips for both parents who are guiding their children and or children who may be participating with groups of friends.

“It’s a good idea to wear bright clothing, especially if you are crossing the street,” Hagan said.

“Cross at intersections with cross walks or at corners,” Finnerty added. “We encourage drivers to also pay attention to the activities, just in case there are children or adults wearing dark clothing and crossing streets.”

Both chiefs encourage parents, regardless if they are taking their children or allowing them to go with friends, to “monitor the candy” they are bringing into their homes. There is a possibility of being handmade treats without labels or treats with ingredients in the items that children should not consume.

“Children should not consume anything until their parents have looked at it (the candy),” Hagan said.

Finnerty also added to pay attention to what houses trick-or-treaters are going to; to not go to houses that are not decorated or lit for the holiday, instead to go to houses that have lights on, decorations, etc.

Hagan added that he “encourages parents to have an honest conversation about the rules and safety” about the holiday and to not participate in criminal mischief. Other than the obvious, Hagan perceives the city to have a safe holiday night.

“We have twenty four-seven coverage 365 days a year, every minute of every day including Halloween,” he said. “We are used to holiday trends of mischief. It’s very rare.”

South Williamsport Police Department will not only be patrolling but will also be handing out candy to treaters walking around and the fire department will be an extra set of “eyes and ears” according to Finnerty.

Annalisa Negrea, injury prevention coordinator at UPMC Susquehanna, also added from a Halloween Safety 101 column, some safety tips to “avoid a trip to the doctor or the emergency room.”

She added that parents and children should be alert by walking to and from houses, not running in precaution of falls in the dark.

She also agreed with Hagan and Finnerty to bring extra lighting on routes and to watch for ongoing traffic.

“If you’ll be driving, watch for children on the side of the road or crossing the street,” she said. “Most importantly, stay off your phone while driving. Any distractions can cause you to lose focus and control of your car.”

She also added to test makeup before trick-or-treat night due to the possibility of irritating your skin. She continued by adding to ensure children have their faces washed at the end of the night to further protect their skin.

In addition, Negrea mentioned to parents and children that no one should be snacking as they walk, especially if the candy has not yet been inspected.

“All candy needs to be inspected before you eat it,” she said. “Don’t be tempted to try the candy as you walk down the street.”

She also added that inspections will come in handy in case of allergies, choking hazards or torn packaging.

“Make sure the candy is in the original wrapper and hasn’t been modified, Negrea said. “Anything that’s not sealed, has torn packaging, or looks questionable should be thrown away.”

Negrea suggested even using carving kits or paint as alternatives to regular household knives to further avoid injuries for the holiday.