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Halloween safety tips for tots, parents and the community

With Halloween and trick-or-treating coming up soon, it's important to remember that a moment of inattention by an adult could turn a traditional day of fun into a tragedy. According to the National Safety Council, kids are more than two times as likely to be struck by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day.

It's not just traffic accidents we need to worry about. Costumes, accessories and wigs need to be flame-resistant. Halloween makeup sometimes contains lead, asbestos and other toxins -- or it could simply cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation. Candy needs to be checked for adulteration. Still, a traffic accident is the most common -- and preventable -- hazard of Halloween. Here are some National Safety Council tips for keeping your Halloween activities as safe as possible:

Make sure costumes are safety-conscious

Whether you've bought your kids' costumes or made them at home, a few alterations may be in order. Kids should avoid wearing masks or hoods that obstruct their vision. Incorporate some reflective tape into their costumes and treat bags and give them glow sticks to carry. Have your child walk around in the costume to ensure they won't trip.

Trick-or-treaters need rules and supervision

Young children need a responsible adult to accompany them. Older kids need rules. Plan a route for them to follow and agree on a specific time for them to return home. Review traffic safety rules and emphasize care around driveways and alleyways where cars could emerge without warning. Tell them to remain in familiar, well-lit areas, to stay with their friends, and never to enter a stranger's home or car. Finally, both kids and adults need to consider trick-or-treating a screen-free activity. Stay attentive to your surroundings.

Motorists should take extra care

A lot of trick-or-treating takes place at twilight, when visibility is already a challenge. Keep an eye out for kids on the road, curb or median, and remember that they may be wearing dark clothing. Be especially careful when exiting a driveway or alleyway, as children may be passing. Inexperienced drivers should try to avoid going out on Halloween.

Halloween should be a fun time for everyone. Don't spoil it by putting children at risk. Take some time in advance to make sure your kids' costumes are safe and visible and that they know how to protect themselves from traffic danger.

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