By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
For children, Halloween might be one of the most fun nights of the year, but it's also one of the most dangerous, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
A child is four times as likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween than any other night of the year.
Barb Bailey, an injury prevention specialist with the Colorado SAFE KIDS Coalition, said children should be warned about crossing the street at night.
"Careless street-crossing habits, coupled with drivers' more limited vision at night, can make for a deadly mix," she said.
Parents should educate their children on how to be safe before they turn them loose trick-or-treating.
"Many of the risks children face on Halloween can be avoided if parents discuss important safety precautions with them," she said.
Parents should be careful of what kind of costumes their children leave the home wearing.
"While parents and children are constructing creative costumes and decorations, they should make certain hooded costumes, or those requiring a mask, do not block the child's vision," she said. "Costumes made of flimsy material and outfits with big, baggy sleeves or billowing skirts should be avoided. Loose costumes are more likely to come in contact with a candle or lit jack-o-lantern versus a tighter fitting costume."
Lori Maldonado, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Environment, said people should not limit what children wear, but should be careful.
"We want to stay away from not allowing kids to be what they want to be," she said. "Just make sure a child's site is not blocked. Costumes might need to be modified if site is blocked."
The SAFE KIDS Coalition compiled a list of safety tips for children.
"If you stick with this list your children should be pretty safe," Maldonado said.
Adults should accompany children under age 12 on their trick-or-treat rounds.
Attach the name, address and phone number of children under 12 to clothes in case they get separated from adults.
Teach children their phone number and make certain they have change for a phone call in case they have a problem while away from home.
Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a pre-established route.
Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by a parent or adult with whom they are well acquainted and know they can trust.
Set a time for children to return home.
Restrict trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated.
Tell children to bring their treats home before eating them. Parents should check treats to ensure that items have not been tampered with and are safely sealed. Be careful with fruit and inspect the surface closely for punctures or holes and cut it open before allowing a child to eat it.