6 Halloween safety tips for parents

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police want to remind parents and their kids to make sure everyone stays safe on Halloween night while out trick-or-treating.

Chris Garrett with the Henrico County Police Department saids kids should always go trick-or-treating in neighborhoods with which they are familiar.

They should stick to those houses that are well-lit and avoid walking in the street unless it’s shut off to traffic.

Police also said it is key to make sure your child’s costume fits right.

"So they don’t trip and fall. If they are wearing a mask, make sure that it doesn’t obstruct their view," Garrett said. "Since you’ll be walking at night, you need to make sure you and your child are illuminated with some type of glow stick or flashlight so you can see and also be seen."

For those of you who stay home to give out candy, there are ways you can help keep everyone safe as well.

“We would remind homeowners to make sure there are no obstructions on their property or on the porch where the kids will be coming up and down. If you have leaves or something like that maybe blow off your porch to ensure there’s no slip or trip hazards for the children,” said Garrett.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.

“Halloween can be a dangerous night for child pedestrians, and the Foundation’s mission is to help prevent these tragic accidents, said Haley Glynn, Traffic Safety Educator with The Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education.  “Otto discusses topics specific to costume choices and the hazards associated with trick-or-treating.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic sent out some safety reminders for families and drivers out on Halloween.

Motorists 

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
  • Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
  • Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Turn your headlights on to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
  • Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and on front porches.

Parents

  • Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and light in color to improve visibility.
  • Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and on treat buckets.
  • Wear disguises that don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
  • Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or 'horseplay.'
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
  • Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger’s home or garage.

Trick-or-Treaters

  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
  • Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
  • Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
  • Tell your parents where you are going.
  • Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it face down in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

Party Goers

  • Arrange a safe ride home and/or designate a driver before partaking in any festivities.
  • Always designate a sober driver.
  • If you are drunk, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
  • Before leaving for a party, put numbers of local cab companies and your designated driver(s) into your phone.
  • Walking impaired can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.