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Halloween Safety Tips

Once again we are nearing that time of year when the streets will be full of ghouls, ghosts, princesses. Spiderman and Sponge Bob.

On Halloween evening most neighborhoods will be abuzz with children going door-to-door in their quest for goodies and candy. The most important thing to remember is to talk to your children about safety during this holiday.

Area Sheriff´s Departments have put together a list of tips to ensure a fun, safe Halloween evening.

If you are out driving, please be cautious of children who may be out trick-or-treating. Parents are encouraged to stay with their children while trick-or-treating. Children should always stay in a group with an adult if a parent is unable to go with them.

Law enforcement officials also recommend the following:

Before Halloween

– Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement, or contact with flame.

– Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

– Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.

– Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.

– When shopping for costumes, wigs, and accessories, look for and purchase only those with a label clearly indicating that they are flame resistant.

– Think twice before using simulated knives, guns, or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.

– Obtain light sticks or flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.

– Plan ahead to use only battery-powered lanterns or chemical light sticks in place of candles in decorations or costumes.

– Teach children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind then that 9-1-1 can be dialed for free at any payphone.

– Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll,” should their clothes catch on fire.

– Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.

– Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives (or safe non-food treats) for those who visit your home.

– Take extra efforts to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.

– Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking or having a heart attack.

Fun Alternatives

– Ask around your community and check your local newspaper for information on special events.

– Community centers, shopping malls and churches often have organized festivities.

– Share the fun by arranging a visit to a retirement home or senior center.

– Create an alliance with college fraternities, sororities or service clubs for children’s face painting or a carnival before nightfall on Halloween

– A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from eating Halloween treats before parents have had a chance to examine them.

– Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.

– Always keep Jack O´ Lanterns and hot electric lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children will be standing or walking.

– Plan and review with your children the route and behavior, which is acceptable to you. Accompany your children and agree on a time when older revelers must return home.

– Along with flashlights for all, older children and escorts should wear a wristwatch and carry coins for non-emergency phone calls.

– Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags. Consult your veterinarian for further advice.

– Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.

– Adult partygoers should establish a designated driver.

When Trick-or-Treating

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

Remind trick-or-treaters:

– Try to only stop at familiar locations like neighbor or friend’s houses.

– By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.

– Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.

– Only go to homes with the porch light on.

– Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.

– If no sidewalk is available, walk on the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.

– Never cut across yards or use alleys.

– Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.

– Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.

– Always walk. Never run across a street.

– Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.

– Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway or alley.

– Don´t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn´t mean that others will!!

– Never consume food items or drinks that may be offered.

– No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.

– Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

After Trick-or-Treating

– Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

– If you have an item that you felt was suspicious, wash your hands with soap and warm water for one minute.

– Only items in their original packaging should be eaten.

– Try to apportion treats for the days following Halloween.

– Make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies) are given to those of an appropriate age.

We know that many of these tips are common sense, but it is always good to review. Remember, you are always safer when you stay in areas that you know or at adult supervised community events. You should always use good hygiene practices and wash your hands when you return home and before you eat your treats. For a printable copy of these tips visit the web site at www.stanislaussheriff.com and click on the Halloween Safety link.