HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS
Halloween is almost here and we expect large groups of children out and about Thursday evening. Our primary concern on Halloween, and any other time, is the safety of the children.
With that in mind, the Sheriff's Office would like to offer the following safety tips. It is a very good idea to review these with your children before they begin their "trick-or-treat" adventure.
1. Fake knives, swords, guns, and other costume accessories can potentially cause injury. Make sure they aren't too long for the costume and review with your child that they are part of the costume and not a weapon. Make sure they are made out of cardboard or other flexible materials.
2. Only purchase costumes and accessories that are marked flame-resistant.
3. Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
4. Try using make up instead of a mask. Masks can obstruct a child's vision, which can be dangerous for when kids are crossing streets and going up and down steps.
5. Costumes with light colors and/or reflective tape are best. Someone in the group should carry a flashlight. Consider putting reflective tape on their bags too.
6. Children should always trick-or-treat in groups, rather than alone, preferably with adult supervision and carry a cell phone for quick communication.
7. Parents should select the safest route for children to take. Children should stay on sidewalks (where available) or on the shoulder of the roadway facing traffic. Children should avoid walking in the roadway, in alleys or poorly lit areas, and be cautious not to dart from behind shrubs or parked vehicles. Drivers should slow down and use extreme caution, especially in neighborhoods where children are sure to be located.
8. Children should be instructed to stop only at familiar homes and where the outside lights are on. They should also be advised to NEVER go into a home or car to collect treats. They should not stop at houses that are dark or do not have the porch lights turned on.
9. As an alternative of going door to door, parents should consider taking their children to community sponsored events such as those hosted by community centers, churches, schools, etc.
10. Children should not eat any treats until they get home and the parent or adults can examine them.
11. Children (and adults) should only consume unopened candies and treats in original wrappers. Treats with open packaging or torn wrappers should be discarded. Don't forget to inspect fruit and homemade treats for anything that looks suspicious.
I'd like to add in safety tips for our pets. Like any other holiday, Halloween can be a frightening time for a pet as well. There are scary noises, loud, laughing children, and constant comings and goings. But there are ways to enjoy safe Halloween fun with pets.
There are several possible dangers to pets on Halloween. The doorbell is ringing constantly, and, when the door is opened, there are usually a bunch of children in unusual costumes. Many pets will be startled by this, especially if this is their first Halloween. A rescue dog or cat, who may not have had a consistent, calm home before coming to yours, may be doubly terrified.
Major pitfalls are:
Each time the door is opened is another chance for a frightened animal to bolt out into the dark. Particularly if you have a new rescue pet, who has not yet accepted that this is "home", a terrified dog or cat will often run off rather than retreat inside the home.
If your pet is new to the home, or anxious, your best bet is to crate them during the height of Trick or Treat. Or, you can turn off your lights and not answer the door. If you continue to allow Trick or Treaters even when your pet is terrified, you run the risk of a lost animal, or a child being bitten. I always allowed Trick or Treat when I had my first two dogs with no problem. Then I adopted a Min-Pin, and had to stop participating altogether. He (all 12 pounds of him) would have been the one to take a chunk out of a toddler.
Know your pet, and remember your first obligation is to protect them - the neighborhood children can get their candy at another house.
Most of us know that dogs can't eat chocolate - they also shouldn't have anything with Xylitol in it (diet candy, gum, etc.) Even if the Halloween candy isn't actually poisonous to them, it isn't healthy for them (or you, but that's another story). So, keep a close watch that your pets don't get into the Halloween treats.
The good news is that pumpkin is wonderfully healthy for dogs. Plain canned pumpkin is recommended as an additive to your dogs' food, for all sorts of reasons.
Halloween can be a safe and enjoyable evening with a little preparation, communication and diligence. Of course, we will be on patrol and available to you and your children should you need us.
Thank you for your cooperation have fun and as always, be safe!
Sheriff Elmer Tanner