By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
While Halloween is one of the most festive nights of the year for children, it also ranks among the most dangerous for young pedestrians, according to Stillwatern AAA branch manager Todd Thornton.
The Center for Disease Control says children are four times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Motorists need to be extra cautious and watch out for spooky vampires, giggling princesses and mighty superheroes who are out trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets. Thornton recommends checking to be sure all those costumes are fire retardant, especially any accessories like wigs.
“With jack-o-lanterns and other lights, families should be cautious. Costumes can be highly flammable,” Thornton notes. “When they come home with all that candy, be sure and look through it. I raised five kids and that’s the first thing we did after trick-or-treating. Any candy not wrapped should be discarded.”
Thornton says parents can reduce risks for their children Halloween night by following AAA’s ten best Halloween safety tips:
1. Trick-or-treat while it is still light outside.
2. Wear a costume that makes it easier to walk, see and be seen.
3. If your kids do go out after dark, have them wear a costume that is light in color.
4. Children should carry a flashlight so they can see and be seen easily.
5. For additional visibility, use retro-reflective tape on costumes.
6. Use makeup instead of a mask.
7. Trick-or-treat in groups.
8. Remind your kids to cross streets only at corners and to never cross between parked cars or mid-block.
9. Have your children tell you which streets they’ll be trick-or-treating.
10. If there are no sidewalks, tell your kids to always walk facing traffic and as far off the roadway as possible.
Drivers should slow down in neighborhoods and remain on high alert for kids crossing streets mid-block or between parked cars. Even though Oklahoma will still be on Daylight Saving Time Oct. 31, the sun will set about 6:30 p.m, Thornton adds. All the free group events like Stillwater’s Downtown Halloween Festival on Oct. 30 and FarmHouse’s Transylvania Station at the Payne County Expo Center Halloween night are much safer for everyone, he said. He is looking forward to the event which will be down the street from his AAA branch office at Main and Miller. A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 363,000 members across Oklahoma with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 44 retail branches, regional operations center and the Internet at www.AAA.com.