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EDITORIAL – Tragic death of youngster in Christmas parade a wakeup call

File photo of Kamloops Santa Claus Parade. (KCBIA)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

A FUNERAL IS BEING HELD TODAY for a four-year-old girl who died in a terrible Christmas parade accident last weekend and it should be a wakeup call for parents and parade organizers everywhere.

The girl was running alongside one of the floats in the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia parade when she fell underneath it.

Details of what went wrong are still unclear. She might have broken free of her parents in the excitement, she might have been chasing after candies — but that’s pure speculation.

On that same day, the annual Santa parade in Kamloops rolled through the downtown area and, as usual, there were no dangerous incidents. Safety is always a major focus of parade organizers here.

Some of the floats in various parades provide limited visibility for the drivers, and spectators should never assume those drivers will be able to avoid someone who gets too close, even with the help of spotters.

Horses and other farm animals are usually part of parades and their space needs to be respected lest they panic or suddenly hop sideways.

And those candies. Many parades — including the Kamloops Santa parade — now insist candies not be thrown from floats because they attract swarms of kids off the sidewalks. Hand-to-hand only.

That, however, isn’t enforced everywhere. I rode in one parade in a nearby community earlier this year and was stressed out the entire time as candies were tossed all along the way, with children leaping out onto the road to retrieve them.

One extreme safety measure would be to prohibit parade candies altogether, but it would be a shame if it came down to that.

The answer to parade safety is multi-fold: more volunteers (there can never be too many) to keep watch, more vigilance by parents, and a more concerted awareness campaign by organizers.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6243 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Tragic death of youngster in Christmas parade a wakeup call

  1. Growing up, the candy being tossed from parade floats was the main highlight of watching the annual rodeo parade. We rushed the street and had fun bragging about who collected more Kerr candies than the other. More often than not though, there was always a “close call” between a spectator and a parade participant. Dishing out candy by hand directly to kids makes much more sense, safety-wise, plus, there’s less garbage being left on the streets.

    It’s a tragedy, what happened in Nova Scotia, and no one is really to blame. As you say, hopefully it encourages parade organizers to re-evaluate these practises so kids still have something extra to look forward to but also stay safe.

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