Make sure your costume is the spookiest part of Halloween with these safety tips from the Staunton Police Department and other experts.
The spookiest night of the year is almost here! Halloween is filled with scary fun, but there are also safety risks. Children are twice as likely to be killed by a vehicle on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
Following some basic safety guidelines from the Staunton Police Department and other experts can help make sure your evening has more treats than tricks. Here are six tips to keep in mind Thursday.
One of the simplest safety tips is something you’ve heard since elementary school: look both ways before crossing the street. Before your children head out to trick-or-treat, remind them to be extra cautious around traffic, be aware of their surroundings and cross the street at well-lit crosswalks.
“Children can get excited about the prospect of trick-or-treating and sometimes forget those basic safety tips,” Sergeant Katie Shifflett from the Staunton Police Department said.
Shifflett also recommends carrying a flashlight and adding a reflective element to costumes to make sure that you are visible to motorists.
Pedestrians and drivers should be cognizant of the dangers that rain creates, Shifflett said. Rain can make it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, so she recommends making eye contact with a driver before crossing the street to ensure that they see you. Drivers should travel even slower than normal because it takes longer for vehicles to stop in wet conditions.
The Centers for Disease control and prevention also recommends wearing well-fitting costumes and shoes to avoid impaired vision and falls. This precaution is especially important on wet, slippery sidewalks.
Trick-or-treaters aren’t the only ones who can help make Halloween a safe, fun night. If possible, the National Safety Council recommends that motorists avoid driving during peak trick-or-treating hours.
If you need to be on the roads, drivers should watch for darting kids, be extra careful near driveways and walkways, be alert and focused, drive slowly and, of course, drive sober.
Kids will be eager to start trading candy with friends and eating sweets as soon as they get home, but Shifflett recommends making sure that all treats have not been tampered with before digging in. Reviewing candy is especially important for children with food allergies, she said.
Although Shifflett isn’t aware of any past issues in the area related to compromised candy, she said, “Parents should just check to make sure that things are still in their original factory seal just to have an abundance of caution.”
Deciding whether a child is mature enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision is a choice that each parent has to make based on their child’s maturity level, Shifflett said.
Before a child leaves with friends, the Mayo Clinic recommends agreeing on a well-known route and curfew. Children should follow common sense safety tips, like staying out of strangers’ homes and cars.
If children witness anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, they should tell a trusted adult and, like always, can report concerns to the police department.
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