Pedestrian safety paramount on Halloween

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Guidelines for candy-related safety -- never eat unwrapped treats -- are important, But on Halloween, pedestrian safety is an often overlooked aspect of the holiday.

According to Sake Kids USA, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween as on other days of the year. A new study from the nonprofit intended to help prevent unintentional childhood injury suggests that only one in three parents talk to their children about Halloween safety.

"Kids need proper safety instruction before they go out trick-or-treating," said Tania Diaz, the coordinator of Safe Kids Gwinnett. "Many kids will be out trick-or-treating while it is dark when it is more difficult for drivers to see them. There are several easy and effective behaviors that parents can share with kids to help reduce their risk of injury."

Tips parents are suggested to share with their kids are fairly self-explanatory. Children should cross streets only at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks and walking only on sidewalks or paths. Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult, and older children should stay in a group and stick to a predetermined route.

The Gwinnett County Fire Department recommends children trick-or-treat only in their own neighborhood, and only at houses of neighbors they know.

Costumes and bags should be decorated with reflective materials, and masks should be avoided.

Popular trick-or-treating hours are typically between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. Drivers are reminded to slow down in residential neighborhoods, and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

"Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways," Diaz said.

For more Halloween safety tips, visit www.safekids.org.