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Caution will keep trick-or-treat safe

When the ghosts, goblins and Power Rangers hit the county sidewalks running Thursday night from 6-7:30 p.

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

When the ghosts, goblins and Power Rangers hit the county sidewalks running Thursday night from 6-7:30 p.m., a little caution can go a long way toward having a safe and happy Halloween experience.

And, just as important as taking care of one’s own safety is being concerned about the safety of others, Lawrence County Sheriff Roy Smith said.

"We do receive calls about people playing pranks, and some of them can be dangerous," Smith said. "There have been times when people will cut down trees or logs and put them across the roadway, which blocks it. That is especially dangerous if someone is trying to get across for an emergency."

Vandalism also can increase during the Halloween holiday, Smith said. And although deputies will keep a sharp eye out for any unsavory behavior or activity, residents keeping a watchful eye on their neighborhoods can help, too, he said.

"If anyone suspects any activity of that kind is going on, they should call their local police department or the sheriff’s office here," he said. The county sheriff can be reached at 532-1441 or through 911 emergency lines.

While trick-or-treating, area children and their parents should take safety to heart, local law enforcement officials said. The following safety tips provided by the county sheriff’s department and the Columbus Children’s Hospital can help make a safe Halloween.

Safety tips:

– Shoes should be comfortable and safe for walking.

–  Clothes should not be so long that children might trip.

–  Scarves and hats should not obstruct vision.

–  If possible, kids should wear bright costumes, carry bright bags, wear reflective tape and carry flashlights.

– Costumes should be non-flammable. No candles should be carried.

- Face make-up is safer than a mask, as it will not impair vision. However, if using face make-up, parents should purchase non-toxic, hypo-allergenic products.

– Choose a trick-or-treat route in advance, plan a time to return home and always make sure children are accompanied by at least one adult.

- Travel in groups and never enter a stranger’s home.

- Walk, don’t run. Cross at corners, don’t go between parked cars.

– Stay away from the street.

For homeowners:

- If you want trick-or-treaters, leave the lights on - both indoors and out.

– Don’t give out homemade items.

– Clear the walkway to your door (remove decorations, hoses, toys, wet leaves and anything else on which a hurrying child could injure themselves.)

- Use battery powered lamps instead of candles.

Poison prevention

– Don’t let a child eat any candy until a parent/guardian has checked it. The wrapper should be intact for all candy and a fruit’s skin should be undamaged, washed and cut before eating.

- Don’t let children eat homemade treats unless you know and trust who made them.

- To help kids wait until they get home to eat their "goodies," make sure to feed them before they go out and bring a few "safe" treats in a separate bag.

- Young children should not receive nuts,, gum, hard candies, seeds or other choking hazards like toys with small pieces. Parents can see if an object is a choking hazard by placing the item (without compressing it) inside a toilet paper roll. If the object fits entirely within the cylinder, it fails the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission test and may pose a choking hazard to children under three years of age.

– Call the local police department or the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department (532-3525) if you discover or suspect any tampering; don’t taste anything to test.

– Call the Central Ohio Poison Center Hotline (1-800-682-7625) if your child swallows anything tampered, suspicious or possibly harmful.

– Host a party instead of sending kids trick-or-treating.

– Watch how much candy children eat or the tummies may haunt them later.