Keep Halloween safe for everyone

Tuesday is Halloween, and with the leaves changing color and chill in the air, it seems a perfect time for some spooky fun.

As you celebrate the holiday that is all about candy, costumes, haunted houses and creepy stories, remember to stay safe.

Halloween is the one night that we encourage children to walk around in the dark, go to strangers houses and ask for candy. It’s a good tradition, rooted in community trust, that we shouldn’t be afraid to participate in.

Be smart about it, though, and here is why: Roughly two times as many children aged 5 to 14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared with other evenings of the year. Falls are a leading cause of injuries among children on this one night.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council have compiled tips for parents to keep in mind.

 Children should:

 • Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches rather than entering houses.

 • Travel in small groups and be accompanied by an adult.

 • Know their phone numbers and carry a cell phone for an emergency phone call. They also should carry a note in their pocket with their name and address.

 • Bring treats home before eating them so parents can inspect them.

 • When using costume knives and swords, ensure they are flexible, not rigid or sharp.

When walking in neighborhoods, children should:

 • Use flashlights, stay on sidewalks and avoid crossing yards.

 • Cross streets at the corner, use crosswalks and don't cross between parked cars. Children should stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.

 • Wear clothing that is bright, reflective, and flame retardant. Consider using face paint instead of masks.

 • Avoid wearing hats that could slide over their eyes. Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes to prevent tripping.

Parents and adults should:

 • Supervise the outing for children younger than 12 and establish a curfew for older children.

 • Prepare homes for trick-or-treaters by clearing porches, lawns, and sidewalks and by placing decorations away from doorways and landings.

 • Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.

 • Inspect all candy before children eat it.

To ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters:

 • Drive slowly, watch for children in the street and on medians and exit driveways and alleyways carefully.

 • Have children get out of cars on the curbside, not the traffic side.

And remember, have a fun and happy Halloween.

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