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FOR RELEASE: October 11, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Keeping The Treat In Your Child's Halloween

Halloween is coming, and kids are thinking about their costumes and the piles of candy coming their way. However, they aren't thinking about the many dangers they will face during the frantic trick-or-treating festivities.

“Halloween can be scary in more than the traditional sense. For kids, Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year due to the variety of injuries that occur,” said Martha Collar, coordinator, Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Most parents worry about candy tampering. They're not aware that pedestrian injuries, burns and falls account for the majority of injuries on Halloween.”

“Many of the risks they face can be avoided if parents address a few simple safety tips and take a moment to talk to their children about safety before they go out trick-or-treating.” To help make sure your child's Halloween is safe, SAFE KIDS recommends the following tips:

FALLS

  • Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision. If a mask is worn, be certain the mask fits securely, and cut eye holes large enough for full vision.
  • Give trick-or-treaters flashlights.
  • Make costumes short enough to avoid tripping.
  • Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
  • Dress children in shoes that fit. Adult shoes are not a good idea for trick-or-treaters.
  • Allow children to carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
  • Teach children not to cut across yards. Lawns can have "hidden hazards" in the dark. Children should stay on the sidewalk when possible.

PEDESTRIAN INJURIES

During the excitement of trick-or-treating, children often scurry to visit as many houses as possible -- often darting between parked and oncoming cars. SAFE KIDS offers the following tips:

  • Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with retro-reflective tape.
  • Use Halloween costumes that are light or bright enough to make kids more visible at night.
  • Walk, don't run, while trick-or-treating.
  • Stop at all corners.
  • Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing.
  • Never dart out from between parked cars.
  • Exit and enter the car on the curb side, away from traffic.
  • Children under age 10 should not go trick-or-treating without the supervision of an adult or older sibling.

Motorists should remember to:

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • Watch for children walking in the street or on medians and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleyways carefully.

BURNS

When choosing a child's costume, SAFE KIDS recommends the following:

  • Look for "flame-resistant" labels on costumes, masks, beards and wigs.
  • Use fire-resistant material when making costumes.
  • Avoid costumes make of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts that could contact an open flame.

OTHER TIPS

  • Accompany young children on their trick-or-treat rounds.
  • Attach the name, address and phone number of children under age 12 to their clothes.
  • Teach your child his or her phone number.
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a pre-established route.
  • Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Set a time for children to return home.
  • Restrict children's trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated, and ideally, to homes where you know the residents.
  • Remove breakable items or obstacles such as tools, ladders and children's toys from your steps, lawn and porch.
  • Tell children to bring their treats home before eating them. Parents should check treats to ensure that items have not been tampered with and are safely sealed.

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