CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – On average, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween than on other day of the year. But with some simple precautions, kids can stay safe. The Cedar Rapids Police Department urges parents and guardians to prepare children to act safely and drivers to be particularly alert.
The Police Department recommends that parents and guardians talk to their kids about safety before allowing children to go out trick-or-treating. Children are encouraged to trick-or-treat before it gets dark. Children younger than age 10 should not be alone crossing streets on Halloween without an adult. If older kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision, parents should make sure they go in a group and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.
Drivers need to be extra alert as there will be more children on the streets and sidewalks – and those kids may be focused on gathering candy and caught up in the excitement of the holiday rather than being careful while crossing streets. Drivers should avoid distractions and put down their mobile devices and slow down on neighborhood roads.
The Police Department, in cooperation with Linn County Safe Kids, offers the following safety advice:
- Cross the street safely at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. Walk-- don’t run-- across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Slow down and stay alert - watch out for cars that are turning or backing up and never dart out into the street or cross in between parked cars.
- Costumes can be both creative and safe. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Masks can obstruct a child's vision, so choose non-toxic face paint and make-up whenever possible instead.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights in order to see better, as well as be seen by drivers.
The Police Department and Linn County Safe Kids offer the following advice to drivers:
- Slow down in residential neighborhoods. Remember that popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Be especially alert and take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Reduce any distractions inside your car, such as talking on the phone or eating, so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit www.safekids.org and visit the Linn County Safe Kids Coalition Facebook page at www.facebook.com/linncountysafekids.