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Halloween Safety Advice from the Police and Fire Department

Halloween Safety Advice from the Police and Fire Department

October 26, 2020

On average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than on any other day of the year. But with some simple precautions, kids can stay safe.  The Cedar Rapids Police Department and Cedar Rapids Fire Department urges parents and guardians to prepare children to act safely and drivers to be particularly alert. 

Public safety officials recommend that parents and guardians talk to their kids about safety before allowing children to go out trick-or-treating.  Children are encouraged to trick-or-treat before it gets dark.  Children younger than age 12 should not be alone crossing streets on Halloween without an adult.  If older kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents should make sure they go in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting. 

Drivers need to be extra alert as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks – and those kids may be focused on gathering candy and caught up in the excitement of the holiday rather than being careful while crossing streets.  Drivers should avoid distractions and put down their mobile devices and slow down on neighborhood roads. 

Both the Police Department and Fire Department recommend the following safety advice:

  • Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.  Walk-- don’t run-- across the street.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Slow down and stay alert - watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and never dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
  • Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. When choosing costumes, stay away for long trailing fabric.
  • Masks can obstruct a child's vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible instead.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
  • Teach children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.  Battery-operated candles or glow stocks are recommended for jack-o-lanterns.
  • Parents should check all candy before allowing children to eat any.  If the wrapper has been torn or removed, the candy should be thrown away.   
  • Families decorating their homes should keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.  Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. 
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.  Make sure all smoke alarms are working.

The Police Department and Fire Department offer the following advice to drivers:

•            Slow down in residential neighborhoods.

•            Be especially alert 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.

•            Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

Adults and children should be alert for potential hazards as the result of damage from the August 10 derecho.  These potential hazards include tree debris piles or other damaged property that has been placed curbside.  Debris piles may create visibility issues or be a trip or fall hazard.  Children should illuminate sidewalks and driveways by using a flashlight to make sure they can identify and avoid any dangers, like nails, debris, or damaged sidewalks or driveways.

For more information about public safety topics, please visit the Police Department Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cedarrapidspolicedepartment and the Fire Department Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cedarrapidsfiredepartment.

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