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Archive for Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ways to keep your kids safe this Halloween

October 29, 2013

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Halloween is a time for fun, but with lots of children out and about, it's also a time to think about safety.

Thankfully, local law enforcement agencies and businesses have recommendations to keep children safe and healthy this Thursday.

Lt. Steve Lewis of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department said there are always the tried-and-true tips, like "proper and safe costuming so kids can see and be seen, traveling in groups with adults accompanying younger trick-or-treaters, going to homes with porch lights on, and accepting only properly packaged treats."

But he also pointed to some advice issued by Smart 911, the system that allows Douglas County residents to register information about themselves and their households for first responders to use in case of an emergency. Smart 911 advises parents to take a digital photo of their kids in case you need to describe them to emergency responders and provide them with a cellphone so you can reach them at any time.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Department has recommendations for avoiding fires this Halloween, including using battery-powered lights instead of open flame candles in jack-o'-lanterns.

The department also advises only purchasing flame retardant costumes, though that doesn't mean fire-proof, so people should always keep their costumes away from open flames or other sources of heat. And if you're going the homemade route, look for materials made of 100 percent polyester or modacrylics, as they aren't as flammable as others.

Philip Reyes, manager for Spirit Halloween, 1519 W. 23rd St., says many Halloween costumes now have lights or reflectors on them but that people can purchase reflector strips, glow sticks and glow bracelets for ones that don't. "That way, they can be seen when crossing the street," he said of trick-or-treaters.

He recommended that parents always have your kids try their costumes on, to make sure they can breathe through their masks or that they won't fall and trip while they're out trick-or-treating.

And be sure your child is old enough for any accessories you may consider buying.

"Knives and battle axes are probably not appropriate for small children because they might hurt themselves," Reyes added.

For travelers, the Kansas Department of Transportation advises drivers to be careful between the main trick-or-treating hours of 5:30 to 9 p.m., when entering and exiting driveways and alleys, and in residential neighborhoods. For trick-or-treaters themselves, KDOT says to cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks, walk on sidewalks or paths, be mindful of cars that are backing up or turning, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.

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