Archived Story

Officials stress Halloween safety measures

Published 6:01am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

There will be many trick-or-treaters roaming the streets this evening in Franklin County, but local law enforcement officials said while they want everyone to have fun, they hope citizens will be putting safety first this Halloween.
Phil Campbell Police Chief Merrell Potter said his department will have extra patrol units out in the city to make sure everyone is being safe.
“We’ll have marked as well as unmarked patrols making sure everyone is driving slowly and carefully and also making sure no one is getting into things they shouldn’t be getting into,” Potter said.
“My biggest thing is stressing the importance of parental supervision and making sure each parent is with their child and knows where they are and who they’re with.
“I know kids will be kids, but it can be easy for a situation that was meant to be fun to get out of hand and someone get hurt, and that’s what we don’t want to see. We want everyone to be as safe as possible.”
Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said motorists in the city of Russellville should be on alert, especially in the areas known for having high numbers of trick-or-treaters.
“We always have a lot of families that bring their children to trick-or-treat in the downtown area, and it can get very congested with so many people out at one time,” Hargett said.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to drive slowly in these areas. Even if a child isn’t in the street at the time, a child can easily get away from their parents and be in the street in a matter of seconds.”
According to Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta (CHA), children ages 5-14 are four times more likely to be killed while walking on Halloween evening as compared with other evenings of the year.
“Everyone should be on alert tonight, but people who will be in the vicinity of Jackson and Washington Avenues or Madison Street and the surrounding streets need to take extra precautions, as well as people in neighborhoods or other highly-populated areas,” Hargett said. “Just being cautious is one of the most important things you can do to remain safe.”
Red Bay Police Chief Janna Jackson said she would advise parents and guardians to take children to organized Trunk-or-Treat events that many area churches participate in.
“Trunk-or-Treat events are a good way for children to get the candy and prizes that make Halloween so much fun without the worry of walking on a busy street or in an unfamiliar neighborhood that might be dangerous,” Jackson said.
“I know several churches in the area that will be having Trunk-or-Treats so I encourage people to attend those.”
Other tips encouraged by agencies like CHA and all local law enforcement officials include:
• Avoid costumes with excessive flowing fabric, such as capes or sleeves. Loose clothing can easily brush up against a jack-o-lantern or other open flame, causing your child’s costume to catch on fire.
• Make sure your child’s costume fits properly. Oversized costumes and footwear, such as clown or adult shoes, can cause your child to trip and fall, bringing them home with more scrapes and bruises than candy. Avoid wearing hats that will slide over their eyes.
• Accessorize with flexible props, such as rubber swords or knives. Inflexible props can cause serious injury in case of a fall.
• Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face, and make sure it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. A loose-fitting mask can obstruct a child’s vision. If a mask is worn, be certain it fits securely. Cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.
• If possible, choose a brightly colored costume that drivers can spot easily. If not, decorate his costume with reflective tape and stickers.
• Always supervise children under the age of 13. Older children should trick-or-treat in a group, and a curfew should be established for them. Attach the name, address and phone number (including area code) of children under age 13 to their clothes in case they get separated from adults. Have each child carry a cell phone or some loose change in case they need to call home or get lost.
• Children should only go to well-lit houses and remain on the porch within street view. Teach your child to cross the street only at crosswalks or intersections. Make sure he understands never to cross between parked cars and to always look both ways before crossing. Remind your child to stay on the sidewalk, if possible, and to walk facing traffic. Children should walk, not run, and avoid using shortcuts across backyards or alleys. Use flashlights when trick-or-treating in the dark.
• Remind your child not to eat any treats before you have a chance to examine them thoroughly for holes and punctures. Throw away all treats that are homemade or unwrapped. To help prevent your children from munching, give them a snack or light meal before they go trick-or-treating.
• Parents of food-allergic children must read every candy label in their child’s Halloween bag to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation for the child.

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