Halloween can be spooky and safe



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


10/26/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -  -- By keeping a few tips in mind, children and adults can have a safe Halloween.

"The biggest thing for kids' safety is being seen," said Mark Garner, deputy director of the 42nd Air Base Wing Safety Division.

Children should wear reflective material on their costumes and carry flashlights or lanterns, he said.

Before going trick-or-treating, parents should make sure costumes are safe.

"Be choosy about which costumes you select," said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Gibbs, division chief. Recent reports have shown high levels of lead in certain imported costumes, he said.

Parents also should examine what children will be carrying in their hands. Soft, flexible accessories are preferable to harder ones in case a child falls.

While going to events, parents should keep a close eye on their children and encourage safety.

"We recommend that all kids be accompanied by a parent, and that parents follow base policies," Gibbs said.

The child supervision policy states that children age 6 and younger must be within sight of a caretaker while outside. Even though children age 7 and older can be allowed outside alone to play, Gibbs recommends that parents or an adult walk with them while trick-or-treating.

If older youth are trick-or-treating alone, he suggests that parents set a walking route and specify when children should be home.

Once children are home, parents should inspect the candy.

"Parents should look through the candy before the kids start eating," Garner said, telling them to keep an eye out for choking hazards and torn wrappers, which could indicate tampering.



DRIVE SAFELY

Drivers should be extra alert through Wednesday, since many communities will hold events this weekend.

Especially on Wednesday, drivers should use caution when children are outside. Children may forget to use crosswalks and walk into the street.

"They're going to be crossing from house to house," Garner warned. "Kids may be run into the street between parked cars."



ADULT SAFETY

Those hosting parties and those attending should have a plan in place before they start drinking alcohol.

"Have plenty of food, not just beverages," Garner suggests. "Drink responsibly."

The safety division encourages adults to drink responsibly and use the Airmen Against Drunk Driving program for a ride home by calling 953-2233.

For more safety information, visit www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/.