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Halloween safety: Tips for keeping trick-or-treaters safe

Two children participate in the Halloween on the Green event this past weekend in Duluth.

Two children participate in the Halloween on the Green event this past weekend in Duluth.

Come Thursday, Gwinnett County’s smallest ghouls and cutest goblins will take to the streets en masse. As adults, parents and drivers, it’s your job to help keep them safe.

We’ve all heard tales of bad candy — and it’s important to be wary of that stuff too — but the biggest threat to Halloween-crazed kiddos is the physical act of trick-or-treating.

“Parents need to talk to kids about safety before they go out trick-or-treating,” SafeKids Gwinnett coordinator Tania Diaz said. “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.”

Those tips include children 12 and younger only crossing streets with adults and older kids trick-or-treating only in groups and on predetermined routes, as well as the following:

— Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when rossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run.

— Walk on sidewalks or paths. If that’s not possible, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.

— Take direct routes with the fewest street crossings possible.

— Stay alert, watching for cars that are turning or backing out. Never dart into the street or cross in between parked cars.

— Decorate costumes with reflective tape or stickers and choose light colors if possible. Choose facepaint or makeup rather than vision-obstructing masks, and have kids carry glowsticks or flashlights.

Drivers also need to take extra precautions on Halloween, as kids roaming the streets are excited and can move in unpredictable ways.

— Drive slowly in neighborhoods. Popular trick-or-treating hours are typically 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

— Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

— Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can focus on your surroundings.

For more information, visit safekidsgwinnett.org.