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October 25, 2012

MCFRS News Release

Countdown to Halloween

Tips for a Safe and Fun Night

With Halloween quickly approaching, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offers some important tips for a safe Halloween. “Recent research shows that children are four times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other night of the year, said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “It’s a dangerous night because so many kids are on the streets, many without their parents or an adult, and in their excitement often forget important pedestrian safety rules.”

Plan a safe route.
1. Accompany children and remind them to stop at all street corners, cross only at intersections and crosswalks. Teach them to look left, right and left before crossing the street and to continue looking both ways as they cross. If you’re a motorist, please slow down and be prepared to give trick or treaters a brake. 

2. Stay in familiar neighborhoods and have a parent or responsible adult accompany trick or treaters. Visit only those houses where the lights are on. Accept treats only in the doorway and NEVER go inside a house or apartment.

3. Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.

4. Safety in numbers.  If they’re old enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, designate a route before the kids go trick or treating, tell your kids to stay in a group, avoid taking short cuts through backyards and alleys and ask them to check in regularly.

5. Ensure trick-or-treaters stay away from open flames or jack-o-lanterns with candles burning.

6. Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children.

Be a good neighbor.
1.  Keep your porch lights on and eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Remove outdoor safety hazards such as toys, bicycles, garden hoses and lawn ornaments. Make sure the driveway and steps are cleared of leaves, which can be a slipping and falling hazard. Make sure that the driveway and walks are well lit for incoming trick-or-treaters. Replace burned-out or broken light bulbs.

2. Pets get frightened on Halloween. Confine your pets for their safety and for that of trick or treaters.  

Be Safe – Be Seen.
1. Don’t assume the right-of-way. Motorists may have trouble seeing trick-or-treaters in the dark. Just because one car stops doesn’t mean others will.

2. Encourage kids to follow all the rules for pedestrian safety. That includes obeying all traffic laws, looking both ways before crossing, using crosswalks, crossing at intersections and corners and never darting between parked cars. 

All Dressed Up.
1. Plan costumes that are bright and have reflective qualities. Consider adding reflective tape or decals to costumes and trick or treat bags. Be sure kids carry a flashlight and use glow sticks for extra visibility.

2. When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories purchase only those with a label indicating they are flame resistant.

3. Have an adult inspect treats BEFORE eating anything. Do not eat any unwrapped, partially wrapped, or homemade-looking treats.

4. Shorter IS safer. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

5. Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup as a safer alternative.

6. If a sword, cane or stick is part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if they trip or fall.

 
Decorate Safely.
1. Illuminate your jack-o’-lanterns with flashlights or battery-operated candles instead of real ones. You won’t have the worries of an open flame coming in contact with anything  . . .or anyone.

2. If you do use candles, keep them well away from where trick or treaters will be walking or standing.  Review with your children the principle of “stop, drop and roll” should their clothing catch fire. 

Lastly, teach children how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost.

 

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