By Lars Dalseide | October 30 2012 15:45

Halloween Safety Tips from NRA's Refuse To Be A Victim® program

If you're lucky enough to have dodged Hurricane Sandy, then there's a chance you'll be sending trick-or-treaters out into the night. Before you do, take these tips from our Refuse To Be A Victim® specialist Ruthann Sprague:

Refuse To Be A Victim® publishes safety tips for trick or treaters every years, but for 2012 we'd like to include information on using technology to keep your children and loved ones safe while they enjoy Halloween. Trick or Treating is a great adventure for children and a hallmark of Thumbs up from Ghosts and witches at the NRA National Firearms Museum most everyone's childhood. Here are some ideas on keeping the kids safe:

  • Before Halloween, look into the various Child ID apps available for smart phones. Download the app and set it up to protect your child(ren). The FBI Child ID app is a good place to start.
  • Disengage the GPS feature for your cell phone camera. You don't want to post photos on Facebook and alert predators to your location. Go into your settings and turn the GPS feature off.
  • Take a photo of your child(ren) using your cell phone before you leave the house. Take a full length photo and a head shot of everyone and if you are trick or treating with a group, take a group photo also.
  • While everyone may be excited about Trick or Treating, don't announce your plans and route ahead of time on ANY social media. Post photos and tell your story after the event, if you must.
  • Predators love to use today's social media to find their next victim. Make sure your child is not it.
  • Using online resources (such as www.crimereports.com) see if, and where, any registered sex offenders live in the neighborhoods where you plan to trick or treat. Avoid those addresses.

Here are some easy tips to keep your child safe at Halloween:

Children -

  • Carry a bright flashlight to illuminate sidewalks, steps and paths, use fresh flashlight batteries
    Chemical GLOW in the DARK LIGHT STICKS can be used along with flashlights
  • Wear clothing and costumes with reflective tape or "Glow in the Dark" markings.
  • At night safety strobe lights can also be attached to children’s costumes. Proper SAFETY knows no age barrier...!
  • Always WALK, do not run. Stay on the Sidewalks. (If there is no sidewalk) walk on the left side of the road
  • Walk SINGLE file, facing the traffic
  • Obey ALL local traffic signals
  • Cross only at corners, with adults, look both ways before crossing
  • Trick-or-Treat only in familiar neighborhoods
  • Make sure your costumes don't drag on the ground
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes, which fit properly
  • Make sure your shoe laces are tied tight. You can trip...!!!
  • Avoid wearing your mask while walking from house to house.
  • Carry only flexible knives, swords or other props.
  • Avoid pointed props such as spears, or wands that endanger other children's eyes.
  • Visit houses that have lights on, especially houses with Halloween decorations.
  • Stay away from any animals that you don't know.
  • Always be polite. And don't forget to say "Thank You".

Trick-or-treaters at the NRA National Firearms Museum

Parents - 

  • Make sure your child eats a good dinner before going out Trick-or-Treating. They need proper energy tonight...!!!
  • Insist that your child goes to the bathroom BEFORE leaving the house. And, be considerate of your child's bathroom needs by not choosing a costume that is difficult to get on and off in time to avoid last-minute bathroom needs, if at all possible.
  • If you buy a costume, look for one made of flame-retardant material
  • Make sure you work into your child's OR adult Halloween costume, reflector strips, a FLASHING safety light or the very popular GLOW LIGHT STICKS to make everyone more visible and much safer at night. SAFETY FIRST tonight of all nights...!
  • Teach your child how to call 9-1-1 (or your local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.
  • Let them borrow the FULLY CHARGED family cell phone, with home number ready.
  • Ideally, young children of any age should be accompanied by an adult.
  • If your children go on their own, be sure they wear a watch, preferably one that can be read in the dark.
  • Set their watch alarm or the cell phone alarm if you have time limit for Trick-or-Treating.
  • Older children should know where to reach you and when to be home.
  • Older children should trick-or-treat in groups.
  • You should know WHERE they're going and with WHO they are going with.
  • Only accept commercially wrapped goodies. Although product tampering is rare, tell the children to bring ALL the candy home to be inspected BEFORE consuming anything.
    If you child has an ALLERGY, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to look at the ingredients of the treats they bring home.
  • Candy has an expiration date. Throw out items that are past their shelf life.
  • Look for potential choking hazards for younger children. Gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys may present a hazard for little ones.

With a little planning you and your children can have a safe and happy Halloween.

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