Drivers beware: Monsters, goblins in the streets
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
10/30/12 at 2:35 AM
It's not the monsters under the bed or the things that go bump in the night that children and parents should worry about Wednesday. The scariest thing out on Halloween night are cars on the road.
Twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween compared to any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids USA.
"Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for pedestrians," Safe Kids Tulsa Area coordinator Beth Washington said.
Trick-or-treaters should only go to familiar, well-lighted areas, and those younger than 12 should be accompanied by an adult, Washington said. It's always better to trick-or-treat in groups.
Walk on sidewalks and pathways, cross streets at corners and cross walks, and if there is no sidewalk, children should walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
As for costumes, the lighter in color the better, Washington said. If costumes are black, reflective tape should be added. Using flashlights or glowsticks will also help children be more visible at night.
No matter the color, costumes should be flame retardant and fit well. It's also a good idea for children to wear their own shoes, and not costume or adult-sized shoes that they can trip in, she said.
"Face paint is going to be better than a mask," Washington said. "Masks can restrict a child's vision."
For homeowners expecting trick-or-treaters on Wednesday, homemade isn't the best idea.
"Hand out pre-wrapped candy - that's the safest thing to do," Washington said, and parents should inspect all their child's candy before letting them dig into the sweets.
Some people decide to not give out candy to children trick-or-treating, but instead hand out toys or trinkets. While that might be healthier alternative, watch out for small toys or pieces that break off and could be a choking hazard, she said.
The rush hour for trick-or-treating is between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., on Halloween, so drivers should keep be on alert.
"On your way home (from work), you're going to see some trick-or-treaters," Washington said, encouraging people to drive slowly and put away cell phones. "We don't want any kind of distractions."
Keep headlights on and watch out for children darting between parked cars and walking on sidewalks at the end of driveways, she said.
"Kids are very excited, so we need to take those extra steps and be cautious," Washington said.
Halloween safety tips
Trick-or-treat in familiar areas that are well lighted; small children should go with an adult.
Walk on sidewalks or paths. If you have to walk in the street, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.
Cross the street at corners and crosswalks. Look both ways before crossing and walk - don't run - across streets.
Wear light-colored, flame retardant costumes or be sure to have reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags.
Put on face paint or makeup instead of a mask that can restrict a child's vision, and wear well-fitting shoes to prevent trips and falls.
Take a cell phone while trick-or-treating, in case of emergencies. If children are old enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, give them a set time to be home.
Only visit homes where the porch light or external lights are on.
Parents should inspect candy for any signs that it has been tampered with or opened.
Slow down in residential areas and be alert at intersections. Take extra time to look out for children crossing roads and walking in the streets.
SOURCE: Safe Kids USA and the University of Oklahoma Medical Center
Original Print Headline: Drivers beware: Kids on the prowl
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Trick-or-treating safety for kids starts with costume selection. Masks should not restrict a child's vision, and dark costumes need reflective tape to increase visibility. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World file