With Halloween around the corner, the Oregon State Police is offering tips to help keep children safe as they head out trick-or-treating this weekend. Basic safety precautions can help make sure children of all ages stay safe while having fun.
The following suggestions are offered through the Oregon State Police -- Missing Children Clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- Choose bright, flame-retardant costumes, or add reflective tape to costumes and treat bags so children are easily seen in the dark. For added safety, carry a flashlight or glow stick.
- Plan a trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets. Avoid unfamiliar neighborhoods, isolated streets, or homes poorly lit inside or out.
- Never send young children out alone. Children should be accompanied by a parent or other trusted adult. Older children should travel in groups.
- Walk younger children to the door to receive treats, and don't let children enter a home unless you are with them.
- Be sure children do not approach any vehicle, whether occupied or not, unless you are with them.
- Discuss basic pedestrian safety rules that children should use when walking to and from houses.
- Consider organizing a home or community party as an alternative to trick-or-treating.
- Make sure children know their home phone number and address in case you get separated. Teach children how to call 911 in an emergency.
- Teach children to say "NO!" or "this is not my mother/father" in a loud voice if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, accept anything other than a treat or leave with them. And teach them that they should make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming and resisting.
- Remind children to remain alert and report suspicious activity to parents or law enforcement.
Halloween marks an especially important time for children to exercise safety, and for parents to work with children on safety and being aware of their surroundings, the Oregon State Police stresses.
The Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office also reminds families to be aware of homes where registered sexual offenders reside. A searchable map is available online at www.co.walla-walla.wa.us/departments/she under the Sex Offenders link.