Be safe, be seen on Halloween

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By The Staff

Tips on designing and creating Halloween costumes at home to meet “see and be seen” safety standards are being offered by the Kentucky Optometric Association in a pre-Halloween message to parents.

According to the vision care organization, many Halloween accidents — from skinned knees to pedestrian traffic fatalities — can be traced to a child’s inability to see steps, curbs and automobiles or to a driver’s failure to see a child in time to stop.

The “see and be seen” costumes are designed to help eliminate these hazards. Simple to do, the safety costumes offer great opportunities for youngsters and parents to use their imaginations in making unusual, yet safe costumes of infinite variety.

According to the optometrists, a Halloween costume should be safely visible to drivers traveling at speeds up to 70 miles per hour, and must be free of masks that may block a child’s view.

Decorating costumes with retro-reflective material is the only effective way to make young wearers highly visible to drivers at night.

In a study from Indiana University, optometrists found that pedestrians wearing retro-reflective material were safely visible to drivers even at speeds of 70 to 80 miles per hour. White is safely visible to drivers only at speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Retro-reflective material is available in either iron-on or sew-on fabrics and tape, so youngsters can make up their own designs. Parents should be certain the children will be visible  from front, back and the sides.

Because poorly fitted masks or those with small eye slits can block a chlid’s view of oncoming cars and objects in his path, a “see and be seen” costume incorporates make-up to transform young faces into original hobos, clowns, witches, gypsies or whatever.

As an extra precaution, the children should have a battery-operated light to carry so they can see more safely and so that others can see them safely.

Also, check your child’s bag of goodies to make sure each item is safe to eat.