2016-10-21 / In the Know

Halloween safety measures should be discussed

By B. Michael Thurlow Special to the Leader

In just over a week many of our families will be celebrating Halloween which falls on Monday, Oct. 31 this year.

I’m sure most of us remember the excitement and joy of going around the neighborhoods trick-or-treating, but there are a number of safety concerns that parents should address to make sure this night of fun doesn’t turn into a tragedy.

Each year the National Safety Council reports thousands of pedestrian injuries and several deaths surrounding Halloween activities.

To help ensure Halloween is safe in our community Sgt. Tim Barker and I have complied the following list of best practices.

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. If older children are going alone, plan and review the route with them to make sure it is acceptable and agree on a time when your children should return home.

Only allow your child to go to homes with a porch light on and never let them enter a home or car for a treat.

Instruct your children to travel only in groups, in familiar, well-lit areas and to avoid trick-or-treating alone.

If children are out after dark, which most are, their costumes and bags should have reflective tape or they should carry flashlights, glow sticks, or glow necklaces to make sure they are visible to motorists. Have them use sidewalks where they are available and to stay well off to the side of the road where there are no sidewalks.

Trick-or-treaters, don’t assume motorists can see you. Look both ways before crossing a road and walk, don’t run.

Drivers should use extreme caution including driving below the posted speed limit and driving for the conditions including heavy pedestrian traffic.

All costumes, wigs, and accessories should be fire resistant. Make sure any masks fit properly and have sufficient holes for breathing and to provide good peripheral vision.

If your child’s costume has props like scythes, swords, knives, or pitchforks be sure that the tips are smooth and they are flexible enough as to not cause injuries.

Be very careful with decorations like dried corn stalks and hay around lights and any other heat sources. Avoid using candles or any open flames near combustibles or where kids in costumes may be.

Kids shouldn’t consume the treats they get until they return home and parents have a chance to check them.

Discard anything that isn’t properly sealed to assure it is safe and wasn’t tampered with.

Halloween activities are traditional and can be a lot of fun, but as our community continues to grow we all need to be vigilant during those few hours near and after twilight on Halloween when our children celebrate this special holiday.

As a parent please do your part to make sure your children are as safe as possible. As a motorist please do your part to drive with an extra level of caution so our police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel don’t need to rush to treat an injured child who was just out for a few hours of fun in the neighborhood.

If you have any questions about this article or any fire department issue you may contact me at mthurl@ci.scarborough.me.us or 730-4201.

B. Michael Thurlow is fire chief for Scarborough.

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