The Garden City Telegram
10/29/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Safe treats

Halloween brings a time to be even more vigilant.

It's the time of year when children can't wait to take to the streets in search of treats.

This week brings Halloween, and the door-to-door quest for candy and other goodies as part of the annual ritual known as trick-or-treat.

But as fun as the evening may be, parents also must acknowledge the potential for harm.

Safe Kids Kansas — a coalition of more than 70 statewide and regional partners dedicated to preventing childhood injury — reported that over a recent five-year period, on average, twice as many child pedestrians were killed on Halloween than throughout the rest of the year.

With the days getting shorter, many children will be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is difficult for motorists to see them.

Add in the excitement of the evening, and children may be more distracted and not paying attention.

Safe Kids Kansas' recommendations for staying safe:

* Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and choose light colors when possible. Masks can obstruct a child's vision, so use non-toxic face paint and makeup when possible.

* Flashlights and glow sticks help children to see and be seen by motorists.

* When selecting a costume, make sure it fits properly to prevent trips and falls.

* Children 12 and younger should not go out alone at night without adult supervision.

When youngsters are deemed mature enough to go it alone, they should stay in familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

* Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., so be particularly alert for kids during those hours.

No one wants an accident to mar an otherwise fun activity.

Take a little extra time this Halloween to be even more vigilant, and help young ghosts, goblins and other costumed characters track down their treats in the safest way possible.