SKK Provides Halloween Safety Tips

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Halloween is supposed to be a spooky night, but parents don't have to be scared about their kids' safety if they follow some simple safety tips from Safe Kids Kansas. Over a recent five-year period, on average, twice as many child pedestrians have been killed on Halloween as have been killed on average throughout the rest of the year. With the days getting shorter, children are likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them and the excitement of the holiday can make everyone less cautious.

"Parents need to remind kids about safety while walking before they go out trick-or-treating," says Jan Stegelman, coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas. "Children should bring flashlights or glow sticks with them, carry reflective bags or have reflective tape on their costumes to increase visibility to drivers. Children should not wear masks which may inhibit their ability to see hazards."

As part of the Walk This Way program, local Safe Kids Coalitions and sponsor FedEx will be distributing reflective stickers and trick-or-treat bags to children across the state, as well as providing important safety information to parents and children at community events.

Tips for Parents

Safe Kids recommends that children under age 10 do not trick-or-treat without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they go in a group and they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting. Parents must also remind kids to:

* Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Don't assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you. Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk; don't run, across the street.

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* Walk on well- lit sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk in familiar areas with minimal street crossings.

* Be a safe pedestrian around cars. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Tips for Drivers

Drivers need to do their part to keep trick-or-treaters safe from harm. Safe Kids reminds motorists to be extra careful this Halloween and recommends that drivers:

* Be especially alert. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour period, between 5:30-9:30 p.m.

* Drive more slowly. Slow down and anticipate heavier-than-usual pedestrian traffic.

* Lights on. Be sure to drive with your full headlights on so you can spot children from greater distances.

Although pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents also need to keep in mind that there are other hazards for their children on this holiday. Parents must check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them. To prevent costume fires, keep jack-o'-lanterns that are lit with candles away from doorsteps and walkways, and consider using glow sticks instead of candles. Safe Kids Kansas suggests that parents look for non-flammable costumes and non-toxic designations when choosing Halloween makeup and make sure their children wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips and falls. Finally, children should only go to homes where the residents are known and there are outside lights on as a sign of welcome.

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