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5 tips to have a safe and happy Halloween

kids trick or treating
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The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Sherri Hannan, coordinator for Safe Kids Fayette County.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2022) Halloween is one of the most fun nights of the year for children, filled with costumes and candy, but it can be extremely nerve-wracking for parents. With a few tips and tricks, you can ensure your kids stay safe while out trick-or-treating.  

Safe costumes. When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. It is important to use reflective tape if your costume is a dark color so that your kids are easily seen by drivers. Glow sticks or flashlights can be another great alternative. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and, more importantly, they can obstruct a child's vision.

Be alert. While trick-or-treating, it is important to put phones or other electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk to stay alert. Remind your children to watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Avoid running across the street or crossing between parked cars. It is the best to cross the street at corners or a crosswalk, and do not forget to look both ways before crossing the street.

Never trick or treat alone. Children under age 12 should always be accompanied by an adult, but older kids who may want to go with friends should stay in a group and never wander off alone. Remind your older children to use a familiar, well-lit route and go only to homes where the residents are known and have outside lights on, and to not enter any homes.

Drive safe. Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day. Kids are excited to be out trick-or-treating and safety may not be at the top of their minds. If you plan to be driving during trick-or-treat hours, be extra careful, slow down and pay close attention to the roads. When driving in residential areas, take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs, enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully, and get rid of any distractions such as cell phones. 

Check your treats. Although tempting, remind children to wait until their treats are checked before eating them. Parents should inspect the candy and throw away any candy that is not in an original wrapper. Candy should be discarded if the wrapper is faded or torn or if the candy is unwrapped. If your child has any food allergies, make sure to check all labels. If the treat is unlabeled, play it safe and throw it out.

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