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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HALLOWEEN: The Right Kind of Scary

Younger children especially should be accompanied by adults. 

Reinforce traffic safety rules to kids who will be excited and distracted.  Remind them the rules to wait for adults before crossing a street, look both ways for cars and bikes, and hold hands with their buddy or parent before crossing.

Make sure costumes do not impede line of sight or cause any other safety problems with breathing or movement.  Be sure they are flame retardant.  Use bright colors and reflective surfaces.  Add reflective tape to costumes and bags for safety.

Everyone should trick-or-treat in groups, and make use of the buddy system to keep track of each other.  Establish routes, check-in times, and curfews for older kids and be sure they have a phone with them.  For Halloween parties, know who they’ll be with and review all rules about friends, drinking, getting in cars, and having the designated adult pick them up. 

Stay in well-lit areas, and remember you can see cars better than drivers can see you.
Do not go to unfamiliar areas.  Do not enter houses of people you don’t know or accept unwrapped treats from people you don’t know. 

It’s unfortunate to need to know, but all year round, you should be aware of registered sex offenders in your area.  You can check by street, zip code, name, or other ways at the NATIONAL SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY and at the NC SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

Remind kids BASIC SAFETY that applies all year:  if they need help, try to find a police officer for help.  After that, it is usually safer to ask a woman for help than a man—especially if she has children with her.  Teach children their home phone numbers and how to call 911.

Teach children that if anyone tries to harm them, touch them the wrong way (and talk about what that means) or grab them to remove them from their location, they should scream as loudly as possible, drop down from someone’s arms, and run away.  Teach them it’s okay to punch and kick adults in that case.

Check with parents about any potential nut allergies, which can be deadly, if you are watching children for other people.   Let others know if your children have allergies.  Read packages carefully.  Some items are “processed in plants that also process peanuts or other nuts” and can trigger severe allergies, even if they don’t contain whole or chopped nuts that are obvious.

Consider having a party at home with friends and healthy treats as part of the evening, but don’t suck all the fun out of Halloween.  Just be prepared and safe.  And wear layers, because it’s going to be cold out there!

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