Halloween can be a dangerous time, not from witches, ghosts and goblins, but from falls, choking, and vehicle accidents. There is no real "trick" to staying safe this Halloween. Just remember some basic safety tips and your holiday can be a real "treat."
If your children are going trick-or-treating, make sure to plan the route they will take. Ensure that anyone under the age of 12 is supervised and that at least one person in the group has a cell phone with plenty of contact numbers. Go to www.sheriffalerts.com/ga/dougherty and check to ensure that there are no registered sex offenders living in the neighborhoods your kids will be trick-or-treating in. Make sure to reinforce all safety precautions, especially pedestrian/traffic safety rules. Feeding your kids a fulfilling meal before they go out will help them resist the temptation to eat their candy before you have had the chance to check it.
Trick-or-treaters should stay in pre-planned areas and only travel along established routes. Costumes and bags should have reflective material and kids should carry flashlights or glow-sticks. Masks should fit well and not obstruct the field of vision, especially while walking from house to house. Children should only stop at houses and apartment complexes that are well lit and should never enter a stranger's home. Make sure to establish a return time.
If you are driving on Halloween, don't use a cell phone or other electronic device. Pay extra attention, particularly to crosswalks, intersections and the side of the road. Children tend to walk along the curbs, and cut across streets so keep scanning all around you as you drive. Drive slowly in residential areas during trick-or-treating hours and don't pass vehicles that have stopped in the roadway; they could be dropping off or picking up children.
If you are passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, make sure that your home is well lit and that there are no obstacles in the yard that could cause children to trip or fall. Only give commercially produced, individually packaged treats -- nothing homemade.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for both kids and adults if everybody stays safe. It only takes one bad event to ruin the night for everybody, so obey the rules and have a Happy Halloween!
If you need additional information or have any questions or concerns, please call the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office at (229) 430-6508.
Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office for more than 27 years and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.