Thursday, October 31, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Kids Safe on Halloween

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Happy Halloween!  So many of us are gearing up for a night of trick-or-treating.  It's a fun and magical time for children.  But it can also be dangerous if proper precautions aren't taken.  Here are 5 easy tips to keep kids safe on Halloween...

Light it Up
Trick-or-treating doesn't officially start around here until it's dark outside.  And with the cold, Midwest weather, it's common for people to drive their children from street to street.  So it's important for parents to do all that they can to make sure their children are fully visible to cars.  That means costumes are never all black.  Kiddos should also wear glow sticks attached to their fronts and backs so they can be seen coming and going.  (You could also use reflective tape.)
Give Them Your Number
Write your first name and cell phone number on a piece of paper for your child's pocket or write it on your child's arm before you head out.  That way if they get lost, there is a way for someone to contact you if your little one can't/doesn't remember your phone number.

Hold Hands
Keeping little ones close during the trick-or-treating hullabaloo can be tough, but with all the people out driving around, we have to try our best to keep them within arm's reach.  It can be tough for kiddos to wait to cross the street, but it's important that we impress on them the importance of safety and hand-holding when crossing the street- especially at night.

Know Who You're Getting Candy From
It came as a surprise several years ago when a man living 2 doors down from us was arrested for having thousands of horrible and illegal images of kiddos on his laptop.  And even though I stay  vigilant year round, every Halloween season when we begin mapping out our path, I make sure I go onto Family Watchdog and pull the sex offenders report for my neighborhood.  And then we avoid their houses.  When we pass their houses, I check to see if they are handing out candy.  In our state, sex offenders don't have extra restrictions on Halloween, but you better bet if I see them handing out candy, I'm calling law enforcement so they can keep a close eye on them.  To find a list of offenders in your neighborhood, visit the Family Watchdog site, and enter your address.  A map similar to the one below will pop up.  The red, blue and green boxes represent the residence of different types of offenders.  You can click on the squares to open up their info to include specific address, name, picture, and what they were convicted of.  It's a great tool to use to learn exactly who is in your neighborhood. 
Check and Double Check
Before you set out, make sure that you've instated the family rule that no candy is eaten during trick-or-treating.  Not only will this keep little ones from getting hyped up on all that sugary goodness before bed, it gives you time to check the packaging on all treats back at the house before they're consumed.  We have a firm rule about how treat wrappers should look... They shouldn't appear to be opened and resealed, no chemically smells, and no homemade treats.  My reasoning is that I just don't know everyone, so I'm not going to implicitly trust them. And as a parent of a child with nut allergies, we cannot chance anything.
Be safe out there, friends!!  

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