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Rowan Sheriff provides Halloween safety tips, precautions

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has a number of “common-sense practices” and tips to keep your little ghosts and goblins safe this Halloween.

“Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment and following some common-sense practices can keep events safer and more fun,” said Sheriff Kevin Auten.

The sheriff reminds all Rowan County residents to follow these safety tips:

COVID-19 safety

• Follow state and county health policies.

• Limit participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door.

• Halloween costume masks are not suitable to provide COVID-19 protection.

• Promote the use of hand sanitizer by trick-or-treaters and their families.

• Announce if there are any curfews in place.

• Encourage social distancing.

• Decline trunk-or-treat opportunities where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots.

• Do not attend crowded costume parties held indoors.

• Avoid going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.

• Discourage going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household.

Automobile safety

• Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.

• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.

• Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.

• At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

Parent precautions

• Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will supervise the outing for children under age 12.

• Check the sex offender registry at www.ncdoj.gov when planning your child’s trick-or-treat route. You can view maps that pinpoint registered offenders’ addresses in your neighborhood and sign up to get email alerts when an offender moves nearby.

• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow and know the names of older children’s companions.

• Make sure older children trick-or-treat in a group.

• Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.

• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.

• Establish a return time.

• Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home.

• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.

• All children need to know their home telephone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.

• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address, and telephone number inside a pocket in case the they get separated from the group.

Costume design precautions

• Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.

• Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.

• Costumes should not be so long that they become a tripping hazard.

• Make sure that shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.

• If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light-colored materials. Strips of retro-reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

Face design safety

• Do not use masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision. Use face makeup instead.

• When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages that contain ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for application.

• If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

Accessories

• Knives, swords, and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.

• Bags or sacks carried by youth should be light-colored or trimmed with retro-reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.

• Children should carry flashlights with fresh batteries to help them see better and be seen more clearly.

While trick-or-treating

• Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.

• Walk; do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.

• Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.

• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, if there are no sidewalks.

“Halloween is a fun time in Rowan County, but let’s make it a safe time as well. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes,” Auten said.

Treats

• Give children an early meal before going out.

• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.

• Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.

• Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped or has a strange odor, color or texture.

Homeowners and decorations

• Keep candles and Jack-o’-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.

• Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.

• Keep candles and Jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles that could catch fire.

• Do not leave your house unattended.

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