This weekend, kids will be heading out in droves to find some tasty treats to take home with them. While they’re out, there are some tips kids, parents and motorists to keep in mind.


This weekend, kids will be heading out in droves to find some tasty treats to take home with them. While they’re out, there are some tips kids and parents should keep in mind to make it a safe Halloween. While adults are driving and decorating, there is a whole other set of issues for them to consider.

DRIVERS
Motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween increase an average of 30% when Oct. 31 is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, the number of deaths among young pedestrians 5 to 14 is four times higher from 4 to 10 p.m. Halloween compared to the same time other evenings.

Drivers should take caution and follow these tips:

Avoid traveling through residential areas Be more aware of speed limits and traffic signals. The risk of killing a pedestrian is nearly twice as likely if they’re hit by a car traveling 30 miles per hour as opposed to 25 miles per hour. Watch for children, especially those in dark costumes that are harder to see at night. Turn headlights on, even if it’s not dark out yet.

TRICK-OR-TREATERS and PARENTS
“On Halloween evening, we are placing our children in some of the most dangerous traffic situations,” said Jim Lardear, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Our children are outside after dark, they walk on and cross unfamiliar streets and often wear dark colors difficult for motorists to see. Additionally, some masks or costumes may offer them limited visibility.”

Families should keep the following tips in mind to deflect hazardous situations:

Accompany kids at least to the age of 12 Affix reflective material to costumes and accessories if kids will be out past dusk If wearing masks or disguises, be sure children can see clearly Watch the length of costumes to avoid tripping Ensure props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping Cross the street only at corners, and never between parked cars or  mid-block Take a flashlight or glow stick Use sidewalks Stay off lawns and stick to walkways; there could be tripping hazards in the grass

DECORATORS
Fire can be a big part of building a haunted house, but it can turn into a liability if not managed correctly.

“Halloween is such an exciting holiday for kids and adults alike,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association. “But without the proper planning and precautions, a seemingly innocent candle decoration or a flowing costume can quickly turn the holiday into a true horror.”

According to Carli, candle fires represent a leading cause of home fires in the United States. From 2003 to 2007, an annual average of 15,260 home structure fires were started by candles, causing 166 fire deaths, 1,289 injuries and $450 million in direct property damage. Halloween is one of the top five days for candle fires.

Statistics also show that from 2003 to 2007, decorations were the item first ignited.

These tips can help keep the holiday safe from fire emergencies:

Stay away from costumes with billowing or long trailing fabric. Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters. Use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in jack-o-lanterns. If using real candles in jack-o-lanterns, place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards. Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.


Source: AAA, American Red Cross, National Fire Protection Association