Trick or treat responsibly

10/29/2013

By KELTON BROOKS

By KELTON BROOKS

kbrooks@gctelegram.com

Trick-or-treating, ghostly or animated costumes, Jack O' Lanterns and the pleasantry of candy corn — Halloween is here in Garden City.

While this annual holiday is a night of fun memories for the community and the children, it is important that we keep our little ghouls and goblins safe and out of harm's way.

According to Bert Sperling of Sperling's Best Places, 115 child pedestrians deaths occurred on Halloween over the past 21 years. Those numbers come to an average of 5.5 deaths each year on Halloween--which is more than double the average of 2.6 deaths on any other day.

"One thing we want to stress is that we don't recommend kids younger than 12 years old to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision because of pedestrian safety issues," said Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas. "Pedestrian safety is absolutely a conversation parents should have with their kids. Parents should talk about what route their kids are going to take, and they should have a cell phone on them in case of emergency."

Sage also added that drivers need to be "extra cautious" because kids will be excited, distracted and can become unaware of hazards around them.

Noted in the Safe Kids Kansas release, Sage also said that "parents should remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers" and look out for tampering.

Here are a few tips listed by Safe Kids to educate the community on Hallowen safety:

* Watch for cars that are turning or backimg up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

* If kids are mature enough without adult supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

* For drivers, slow down and take extra time to look for kids at intersectons, on medians and on curbs.

* Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see or be seen by drivers.

* Popular trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. so be especially on the look out for kids during those hours.

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