10/30/08 — Use good judgment to keep kids safe while getting treats

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Use good judgment to keep kids safe while getting treats

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 30, 2008 1:46 PM

As youngsters look for candy at Wayne County doorsteps Friday, law enforcement officials say they're looking for ways to keep those trick-or-treaters safe.

The easiest way, said Sheriff Carey Winders, is to have your costumed sugar-seekers skip neighborhood trick-or-treating and go to an organized event instead.

"The churches, other organizations, there's a lot of them that put together Halloween festivities at their facilities," Winders said. "It's a safer environment there."

But Winders said he is well aware that many people will choose hitting the streets and he urges caution to those people.

Official trick-or-treating begins at 5 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m., for the city of Goldsboro.

"If you do choose to trick or treat in your neighborhoods, stay with people that you know of," the sheriff said. "We've seen a problem in the past where we've had numerous people drive to other subdivisions."

Hitting other neighborhoods in search of candy creates unnecessary extra traffic and increases the chance that a trick-or-treater is taking candy from strangers, he said.

Even when candy is taken from people a child knows, parents would still be wise to look it over.

"Don't eat any of your treats until you return home, and are inspected by your parents," Winders said.

The sheriff also cautioned parents to seek flame-retardant costumes, to make sure youngsters travel with flashlights, and for proper supervision.

Others also issued advice for staying safe over the Halloween holiday.

Among those issuing tips were the Safe Kids North Carolina campaign, including N.C. Insurance Commissioner Jim Long.

"With Halloween falling on a Friday night, many of us will be rushing home from work ready for the weekend, but don't forget to slow down," Long said in a news release.

Slowing down is a good idea, Long said, because Halloween can breed a lack of attentiveness for both adults and children.

"In the excitement of trick-or-treating, kids don't always remember to look both ways before running out into the street or across driveways," he said.

Other tips issued by the Safe Kids campaign included:

- Slow down in residential areas, and obey traffic laws.

- Watch for children in the street, and also on median and curbs.

- Enter and exit driveways and alleys with care.

- Drivers should remember that costumes sometimes limit a trick-or-treater's field of view.

- Decorate costumes, candy bags and other items with reflective tape. That will give drivers a better chance of seeing your trick-or-treater.

- Choose a costume made of cotton, rayon, acetate or a blend. These types of materials are less flammable than others.

- Snug or form-fitting costumes are less likely to become snagged on sharp objects or to come into contact with fire sources.