Cell Phones Suggested for Trick-or-Treaters - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cell Phones Suggested for Trick-or-Treaters

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -- A new suggestion is being proposed this Halloween to keep your trick-or-treating child safe.

Experts at 411onwireless.org and the COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance, are urging parents to consider sending their child with a cell phone when they go trick-or-treating this year.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 36 million people trick-or-treated in 2007. Children are more than twice as likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle on Halloween night  than on any other night, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. There is also a increase in falls, burn-related injuries and pedestrian injuries reported to authorities and emergency responders between 4 and 10 p.m. on Halloween night.

David Aylward, director and founder, COMCARE Emergency Response
Alliance, said: "No child should go out unaccompanied by a responsible
adult on Halloween.  But even when that common-sense rule is observed,
it is still possible for children to become separated from a group,
lost, suffer an injury or even become involved in, or see, a pedestrian
accident without an adult close by   In such cases, it is vitally
important for a child to be able to contact a parent or 9-1-1 emergency
personnel.  That is where a prepaid or other cell phone can really make
a difference."

Alyward and 411onwireless.org suggest the following regarding cell phones on Halloween:

1. If you don't have a cell phone that the child can use, get an
inexpensive prepaid cell phone online or from a local merchant.  This
will come in handy on Halloween or any future outing in which your child
might be involved.

2. Pre-program your child's cell phone with all important phone numbers
- including your home, your office and related cell phone numbers. Make
sure that your child knows how to find these pre-programmed numbers in
his or her phone and then how to place a call using a pre-programmed
number. Add "ICE" (in case of emergency) to the key numbers you want
responders or others to call if your child is in trouble, e.g. ICE Daddy
Cell; ICE Home.

3. Teach your child to push "9-1-1" and then the cell phone's "call" or
"send" button -- in an emergency. Explain that this is a very serious
thing and that placing the call will bring a police officer, firefighter
or EMT to the scene. Explain that "emergency" for 9-1-1 means threat to
body or life -- "afraid you will be hurt." Don't assume that because you
know how 9-1-1 works that your child also understands the same thing.
It's also a mistake to assume that a child who knows how to dial 9-1-1
on a landline will know how to do the same thing on a cell phone, which
requires the extra "call" or "send" button stage. Have your child
practice this on a cell phone that is turned off.

4. Tell children to remain on the line after calling 9-1-1, and to be
prepared to describe their location as well as they can. While "enhanced
9-1-1" technologies are supposed to locate wireless 9-1-1 callers
automatically, sometimes they don't work or may be off by several
hundred feet.

5. For non-emergency situations on Halloween, tell children to call home
if they become separated from the group or lost. Make sure your kids
know where you are and how to reach you.

6. If you are not trick-or-treating with your child, get the contact
information for the chaperone(s). If you are one of the chaperones, make
sure you have contact information for the other adults, particularly if
you break up into smaller groups in going from door to door.

7. Make sure that your child understands the need to keep the cell phone
charged and turned on when he or she is away from the house.

8. Establish a periodic check-in time for older trick-or-treaters who
may be subject to less supervision.

Other Halloween safety tips unrelated to cell phones are available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/.

 

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