Drivers: Slow Down for Trick-or-Treaters
Insurance Commissioner Jim Long and Safe Kids North Carolina (SKNC) is reminding North Carolina drivers to slow down on Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31.
According to Safe Kids U.S.A., children are more than two times more likely to die in pedestrian accidents on Halloween than any other day of the year. In 2007, North Carolina saw 22 pedestrian deaths.
"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 on your drive home this Halloween," said Long, who also serves as SKNC's state chairman and state fire marshal. "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, so adults need to remember safety for them.
"Drive slowly through residential areas and keep an eye out for kids running from house to house." The most popular time for trick-or-treating is from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
While pedestrian hazards pose the biggest threat to children on Halloween, burn injuries remain a concern as families use candles to light jack-o-lanterns and luminarias.
"Loose-fitting costumes and candles don't mix," Long said. "Make sure your children stay away from open flames and stay safe this Halloween."
SKNC offers a number of Halloween safety tips.
Safe driving tips:
n Slow down in residential neighborhoods.
n Obey all traffic signs and signals.
n Watch for children walking in the street or on medians and curbs.
n Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
n Remember -- popular trick-or-treating hours are during the typical rush-hour period, between 5:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
n Remember that costumes can limit children's visibility so they may not see your vehicle.
n Drive with your full headlights on to increase your visibility and spot children from greater distances.
Pedestrian safety tips:
n Never let children under age 10 go trick-or-treating or cross the street without adult supervision.
n Decorate costumes, bags and sacks with retro-reflective tape and stickers. Use a flashlight or glow stick to increase visibility to drivers.
n Use costumes that are light or bright enough to make children more visible at night, and make sure they are flame-retardant.
n Wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes to prevent trips and falls.
n Stop at all street corners before crossing; cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks.
n Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; walk-don't run, when crossing streets.
n Never dart out into a street or cross between parked cars.
Fire safety tips:
n Costumes that are snug or form-fitting are less likely to come into contact with ignition sources.
n Look for labels that indicate the costume is made of flame-resistant materials.
n If you are making costumes, choose polyester or nylon fabrics for greater flame resistance. Costumes made from cotton, rayon, acetate or their blends are inherently more flammable.
n Supervise children as they go trick or treating, taking special care to avoid lit candles and jack-o-lanterns, high heat or flaming decorations.
n If a costume does catch fire, remember to "Stop, Drop and Roll."
n When you decorate for Halloween, use battery-operated or electric lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for damage. Throw out damaged sets.
n Do not overload extension cords.
For more information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.
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