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The trick: Avoid preventable accidents. The treat: A safe Halloween

If your child is among the 41 million children between 5 and 14 who will be trick-or-treating next week, you know that safety comes first and fun comes second. As the title says, the trick is to avoid preventable accidents. The treat is that the kids have a great time and come home with fond memories.

The American College of Emergency Physicians offers the following tips about trick-or-treating, costumes and ways to keep your own home safe for your kids and their friends.

Trick-or-treating

  • Have a parent or responsible adult accompany trick-or-treaters
  • Keep children on sidewalks and out of the street as much as possible
  • Make sure children obey traffic signals
  • Make sure children trick or treat in a group -- and stay in that group the whole time they are out
  • Remind children not to accept rides from strangers
  • Remind children not to go into a stranger's home; trick-or-treating should be done at the door.
  • Make sure the adult or the child has a flashlight
  • Stick to well-lit areas and a familiar route

Costumes

  • Make sure costumes are free of anything that can trip a child or cause a child to fall -- oversized shoes, long hems and the like
  • Make sure children can see what's going on around them -- masks, hoods or anything that could obstruct a child's vision should be modified or removed from costumes
  • Make sure every part of the costume is flame resistant
  • Make sure costumes are visible at night; add reflective tape if necessary
  • Make sure costume accessories -- swords, magic wands, etc. -- are safe

At home

  • Use battery-powered lights, not candles, for Jack-o-Lanterns
  • Make sure your walkway and entryway are well-lit and free of obstructions
  • Inspect the treats before your child eats any of them; throw away unwrapped candy or food items, including fruit

Safe Kids Worldwide reports that twice as many kids are struck and killed by cars during the evening hours of Halloween than they are during that time on any other day of the year. This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday, so adult revelers will be out in force. Keep it safe.

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