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Halloween safety tips offered

By Staff | Oct 31, 2009

With Halloween lurking and children preparing themselves for trick-or-treating when the sun goes down, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Florida Highway Patrol have provided various helpful tips in making this year’s holiday a safe event.
Cape Coral Police Chief Rob Petrovich said the safety tips the Sheriff’s Office provided is stuff that the Cape practices every year.
“Those tips are universal,” he said, adding that they are good tips and good advice.
First and foremost, parents should always accompany young children when they are trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treaters should also travel in groups and they should never go inside a stranger’s house, no matter what is said to them.
Parents also should draw a map of where the trick-or-treating will take place so it can be checked against the sex offender database at offender.fdle.state.fl.us, to ensure the children are safe.
Trick-or-treaters should stay in their own neighborhood, because they are most familiar with those surroundings. They should carry a flashlight or light stick and only stop at well-lit houses.
The Sheriff’s Office also encourages trick-or-treaters to use make-up instead of wearing a mask so they can see their surroundings, along with wearing light-colored clothing or costumes, so others can spot them easier.
All treats should be screened before the children eat them and any candy that is not commercially wrapped should be thrown away.
Trick-or-treaters should always use sidewalks when they are available or walk facing traffic when they are not.
The Sheriff’s Office also advises individuals to keep a safe distance between them and moving cars, stop, look and listen at corners, walk instead of running from house to house and never go between parked cars or crisscross back and forth across streets or into traffic.
Last but not least, be respectful of other people and their property, start trick-or-treating early and end early, do not carry sharp objects and never carry a lighted torch or candles.
Petrovich said historically Halloween is a hit-or-miss some years with disruptions of any kind.
He said he has “beefed up some of our patrol activity, street crime unit and district resource coordinator officers” for tonight.
Petrovich added that they are also partnering with Lee County in looking for certain residences that have Halloween decorations displayed. He said this is done because sexual offenders are not allowed to have Halloween decorations up, along with anytime of entertainment, so children will not attempt to go to their front door.
“We only hope that between our good efforts and the efforts of the community with their cooperating spirits we won’t have any problems this year,” Petrovich said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office also has tips for adults who may be traveling on the roadways for various Halloween events.
A prepared statement said “when the trick-or-treaters begin their neighborhood trek, exercise extra vigilance for those excited, costumed youths whose exuberance may overcome their awareness of vehicles.”
Those adults who will be driving to different Halloween events dressed in costume should make sure it does not impede their ability to drive. Also, drivers need to remember “Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”
The Florida Highway Patrol also has various tips for both drivers and parents for Halloween night.
“Halloween is a special time for children and the additional traffic of a weekend highlights the need for safety first,” according to a Florida Highway patrol statement. “As motorists, parents and concerned neighbors, we all must be on the lookout for children whose youth and inexperience might put them at risk.”
Drivers should keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters because they may dart into traffic from between parked cars. They should also be cautious of areas where cars are aligned on the street.
Slow down in neighborhoods and give children plenty of time to cross the street, due to their costumes possibly impairing their vision and hearing.
Parents should talk to their children before they go trick-or-treating and remind them to look both ways before crossing the street.
The Florida Highway Patrol also encourages individuals to decorate their costumes and goodie bags with reflective tape, so the glow of the tape will reflect off of the car headlights when out trick-or-treating.
Costumes should fit the children, who should wear well-fit, sturdy shoes. Hats and scarves should be securely tied to the child’s head, so it does not slip over their eyes.
Petrovich said he hopes everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween.