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Talk to your kids about car safety before trick-or-treating

Halloween is a magical holiday for many children. While not everyone gets into the spirit of the season, many relish the opportunity to dress up, while others can hardly wait for the chance to get free candy.

If your kids are middle school aged, you may allow them to go out on their own with friends. Younger children will probably remain directly under your supervision. Regardless of age or how they'll be trick-or-treating, you need to talk with your kids about pedestrian safety.

Any age can be at risk for an accident

Teens, tweens and pre-teens may get so involved in social discussion, smart phones or the mood of their group that they fail to watch carefully when walking into traffic. Without an adult there to warn them, the potential for an accident exists.

Similarly, even with you carefully watching over your little kids, the excitement of the day could prompt them to dash ahead of you, possibly into traffic. Don't let a scary holiday turn tragic with a car and pedestrian accident! Make sure your kids know how to stay safe.

Respect for the road is key

Every street, even dead end roads and driveways, need to be crossed respectfully. Take the time to check both ways before crossing, and do so quickly, without pausing for any reason. Never cross diagonally at an intersection, as it may prove too difficult to check all ways for potential oncoming traffic.

Crossing the roads should also be the only time that kids out trick-or-treating are in them. Your children should know to never sit, stand or otherwise loiter in the streets. Traffic may be slow, and people may be watching out for candy-grabbing kids, but there's always risk unless the roads are actually closed.

Visibility prevents accidents

The sun sets quickly in the fall, which can mean it's harder for drivers to see the kids out gathering candy and scaring one another with their costumes. In the candy-fueled haze of trick-or-treating, it's all too easy for children to fail to realize how dark it has gotten. Don't expect them to come home when it's dark. Make sure they're visible even after sunset.

Incorporating bright colors into a costume is a great way to improve its overall visibility. If your kid is dressing up like a witch, a grim reaper or something else dark, be sure there are lights or even reflectors built into the costume. Sometimes, hats or headbands that light up are great alternatives. Kids may also choose to wear light-up, single-use bracelets and necklaces while out.

Teaching your children to be careful can reduce the potential for a serious, even life-altering accident. Pedestrians often sustain catastrophic injuries in collisions with vehicles, even when the vehicle was traveling at lower speeds.

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