Thursday, 29 October 2015

Halloween safety

First, go read this. It was made by the Health Canada department of the federal government:

OK, now that you read that, lets take a look at what I find questionable and sometimes over the top, and in some cases pinning the blame on the wrong person.

It says to cross roads only at the corners, and never between parking cars. How about a definition of between? Are you including the area where there is something like 4 metres of a curb extension used for a tree? And also, jaywalking laws really need to change. Sure, don't try crossing a freeway. Find a bridge or underpass. But on a residential road (which really should have 30 km/h speed limits, and maybe on Halloween night, I suggest even a 20 km/h limit, if the street is already not a woonerf), the onus should be on the cars as to whether it is safe to proceed, and driving at a walking pace should be enough for a driver to see, even in the dark, if there is an obstacle. Why not reinstate the olden rules in the early 20th century which required a driver to have someone get out and precede the car with a red lantern and warn people of the car's approach?

It also suggests putting reflective tape on costumes and props. Did that little 11 year old ask for reflective tape on that sword?

I also question how old of a child are we talking about? I think that a 10 year old child is perfectly capable of carving a pumpkin, not with a machete, but with a carving tool. Having the small child draw and let an adult, or I would suggest older person in general carve is a good idea. Those little carvers are not that sharp, and it is not likely to really hurt anyone if you tried. It also suggests that children should not handle matches. I have used matches to lit candles on birthday cakes since I was about 10, and I could have started a lot younger. I once read a guide that suggests 5 years old, granted it does suggest an adult monitor and demonstrate.

Onto costumes. It suggests face paint instead of masks on the grounds of vision limitation and breathing problems. I have a mask that I am going to use (you can never be too old to have a sack or two of sweets) and I can easily breathe out of it and I can see out of it, so well that I can ride a bicycle in the dark with it on. Even if it did limit my vision, most masks are of a design that I can flip it up easily. Including mine. I also am not sure whether this also includes cloth around faces. When I was 13 I tried to go as a Ringwraith from the Lord of the Rings. It didn't go as well as I had hoped because I wasn't allowed to even bring a foam sword from home. I even had trouble with a broomstick. People kept mistaking it for a scythe. I didn't like that. I used a see through cloth around my face to try and hide my face while not tripping over anything or walking off the sidewalk, Is that against Health Canada recommendations? I had no trouble breathing through it.  It did get a little warm though. Choosing costumes that fit well and can be used over clothing used to combat weather, yeh that is a good idea. People joke that their costume fits over a snowsuit, and most of them aren't kidding. My own costume in fact would do that.

I am a little annoyed about the helmet laws for cyclists because I plan on using mine to carry extra sacks for candy (I have a sweet tooth, and you probably do too) and I would like to have a thicker hat than foam, which is only insulating if it doesn't have holes. And yes, I ride with lights, I have a dynamo in fact.

All of these show a bit of a heightened safety culture we have. Safety isn't a joke, I respect that, but things this detailed are a little over the top. Many cities even have laws requiring people to not carry more passengers than it is equipped to carry. I don't know whether the rack on the back of my bicycle would meet that, as most Dutch luggage racks are intended to carry as much as another person. They are called girlfriend racks (do not have the girl in question though) for a reason. It is just one example. Focus your efforts on things that really cause harm. If parking cars are so dangerous, why not ban parking on the road between 4:00 PM and 11:59 PM on Oct 31 each year rather then telling kids to avoid them? Why not ban the cars or restrict them as much as we did 100 years ago, requiring someone to go walk in front with a flag or lantern rather than telling kids to be kids and play around on the day (night) of mischief?

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