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SafeTips Halloween: Witches, ghosts and goblins
Halloween is that time of year when children, and some adults who are kids at heart, dress up in costumes to collect treats and have fun. However, there are hazards to beware of to ensure fun and safety. Children can fall, he hit by cars, burn or cut themselves or find deadly "tricks" in their treats. Because the excitement of trick or treating can cause children to become careless, parents need to be especially careful. When your children go trick-or-treating this year, make sure they are safe by observing the following guidelines:
- Use flashlights so children can see and be seen. Visibility becomes poor at dusk when motorists may not yet have lights on.
- Buy flame resistant costumes. Children can easily bump into or trail the ends of a loose costume against a lit jack-o-lantern and catch fire.
- Apply face make-up rather than buying a mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is bought, make sure eye holes are large enough to see through and that the mask is snug enough not to slip out of position.
- If costumes come with swords, knives or other materials, make sure these items are made of soft, flexible material.
- Have children wear shoes that fit - walking up and down steps and over curbs is tricky enough in the dark.
- Put retro-reflective tape on the front and back of every costume.
- Go with (and stay with) your children when they trick or treat; they need an adult to remind them to be careful.
- Remind children to walk on sidewalks rather than in the streets.
- Check all treats before any are eaten. If possible, get treats X-rayed by a local hospital or military medical facility. Discard baked goods unless you know the cook.
- Drive slowly in residential areas. Watch out for children darting out from behind and between parked cars.
- Watch carefully when backing out of driveways.
- At twilight, and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing walking down the road, on the shoulder of the road or on the median.
- If you're driving children to homes of special friends or relatives make sure they fasten their safety belts. Be sure they get out of the car on the curbside away from traffic.
- Portions of this article were reprinted from the National Safety Council Volunteers Voice Newsletter.