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Published on October 28, 2015

Stay Safe While Trick-Or-Treating

You started making your family’s themed Halloween costumes in July. Each of you is dressing as a character from the TV show “I Love Lucy,” complete with your youngest dressed as Fred Mertz. While trick-or-treating allows you to show your amazing costumes off to neighbors, make sure your children are safe and that you pay attention to drivers in the neighborhood.

Children will spend hours in close proximity to cars as they navigate through neighborhoods gathering candy on Halloween. Pedestrian safety should be a top priority for both drivers and parents, and drivers should be even more alert.

“On Halloween, more children are on the street after dark than normal, and they are so excited that they may run out into the street without thinking,” said Penny Shaw of Safe Kids Spartanburg “We’re asking drivers to take extra care and slow down on neighborhood roads. And, of course, it’s very important that drivers put down mobile devices to avoid distraction.”

The lack of visibility as it gets darker outside makes it important for drivers to slow down and watch out for trick-or-treaters, especially around crosswalks. Pedestrian safety is not just the responsibility of the driver, however, parents can do their part to help kids stay out of the emergency room on Halloween by emphasizing safe pedestrian behaviors before kids go trick-or-treating.

To ensure trick-or-treaters stay safe, Safe Kids recommends that:
• Costumes be both creative and safe. The most important thing is to make sure you and your children can be seen by drivers. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Masks can obstruct your vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible. Carry glow sticks or flashlights so you can see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
• Cross the street safely at corners, use traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right, then left again when crossing the street, and keep looking as you cross.
• Keep your family together. Hold your little one’s hand while you are walking and don’t let anyone fall behind.
• Put electronic devices down. Don’t allow children to run across the street.
• Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Slow down and stay alert. Watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and don’t dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.

You may choose to drive your family from house to house. Here are some tips to follow while the streets are filled with candy hunting trick-or-treaters:
• Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
• Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
• Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

While pedestrian safety is a main concern on Halloween, parents and kids should also be careful when dealing with candy.

“While kids never want to wait to dive into their candy, it is best to check sweets for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them,” Shaw said. “Remind children to only eat treats in original and unopened wrappers.”

About Safe Kids

Safe Kids Spartanburg works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Spartanburg is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Spartanburg was founded in 1993 and is led by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through four hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care and Union Medical Center. SRHS also includes Ellen Sagar Nursing Center, 113-bed long-term care, skilled nursing facility that offers nursing care and rehabilitation services. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout the state of South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina in 2014-15. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.

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